A new analysis by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the association dedicated to predicting, preventing, and prosecuting insurance crime, thefts from vehicles and catalytic converters have continued to affect many U.S. cities since the start of the pandemic and predicts the trend will continue through the remainder of 2022.
Nearly half a million vehicles were stolen in the first half of 2022 (as of June 30), equating to an estimated $4.5 billion in losses. This represents a 25% increase over total vehicle thefts reported for the first half of the year in 2019. In addition, NICB estimates that 100,000 more vehicles will have been stolen by the end of 2022 compared to pre-pandemic totals.
“There is very little deterrence to stop these criminals because vehicle thefts are property crimes,” said David Glawe, president, and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. “Since the pandemic’s start, used car prices have increased by 35% to 40%. Criminals are taking advantage of these high prices, as vehicle and catalytic converter thefts are crimes of opportunity. And crime is a business, and business is good.”
According to NICB, the U.S. is experiencing the highest vehicle theft numbers since 2008, with no hope of a downward trend anytime soon. Some cities with the most significant increases between the first half of 2019 and the first half of 2022 include:
– Denver, Colorado: 155% increase
– Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 106% increase
– Austin, Texas: 64% increase
Separately, catalytic converter thefts have been up 1,215% nationwide since 2019, and vehicle thefts are up 160% to more than 500% in some major cities since 2019.
“To stop this lawlessness, we must focus our attention on these criminals and take back our streets,” Glawe said. “We must reinvest in our law enforcement.”
More on car theft:
- Warning of notorious increase in car theft in Los Angeles
- VIDEO: Wave of car thefts reported from an apartment complex in California
- Auto Club of Southern California Proposes Engraving ID Numbers on Catalytic Converters to Prevent Further Theft
In early 2022, Glawe testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and offered six recommendations to help address this issue:
– Increased Community Policing Programs
– Well-Intentioned Policy Review criminal justice reform
– Application of the laws as written
– Focused attention on violent criminals
– National and State Data Collection about vehicle theft
– Identification and implementation of successful programs of early intervention.
According to NICB, President Biden, through an Executive Order, recently adopted many of the recommendations.
For more details on the report, go here.