Auto theft within the United States continues to decline as technology and manufactures make it harder on the thief’s to successfully steal a vehicle. Reports of stolen vehicles hit a record high between 1988-1992, when vehicle theft was at a high of 1,037 per 100,000 people. Today the FBI estimates 315 vehicles are stolen for every 100,000 people, a 69 percent decrease over 20 years.
The extreme decrease in auto thefts is reportedly due to the increase in anti-theft systems incorporated into newer vehicles and the work of law enforcement. A report from the Highway Loss Data Institute states, less then 5 percent of vehicles in 1989 included an ignition immobilizer as part of their standard package. An ignition immobilizer is an electronic device within the vehicle the blocks the engine from starting without the owners vehicle key. Today, over 86 percent of vehicles include an ignition immobilizer in their standard packages.
Other technology advances such as GPS tracking systems, a device unavailable to civilians until 2007, is now equipped in many vehicles. Systems like the LoJack Security Systems, work as an aid in tracking a stolen vehicle. Many insurance carriers offer discounts to drivers who use such anti-theft technics.
The decline in auto thefts is also connected to the rise in “bait programs” devised by law enforcement. These programs are where police officers leave vehicles unattended with the keys in the ignition to bait thieves, while the theft takes place, law enforcement use the tracking devices to catch the criminals in the act.
Although, advances in manufacturing processes and technology reduce the occurrence of auto left, a motor vehicle is stolen every 33 seconds. Basic practices can be taken to reduce your risk of theft such as, locking your doors, keeping valuable personal items out of your vehicle, do not leave your vehicle running or unattended, park in secure and lite areas, and most importantly make sure your insurance policy covers your vehicle in the event theft.
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