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Protect Your Ride: The Rise of Vehicle Theft Across North America - - BlackboxMyCar

Protect Your Ride: The Rise of Vehicle Theft Across North America

It’s all over the news. For the past months, North America has witnessed a disturbing trend: a dramatic increase in vehicle theft. While car theft has always been a threat, statistics portray a bleak picture of its rise throughout the USA and Canada. In this article, we'll look at the worrisome spike in car theft cases, the factors driving this trend, and the critical steps people should take to protect their vehicles and themselves.

Delving into the Statistics

To understand the gravity of the situation, let's begin with the numbers. Did you know that a motor vehicle is stolen every 32 seconds in the U.S., as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)? The nation saw a steady increase of around 25% in motor vehicle thefts from 2019 to 2022, with the total number of annual thefts breaking 1 million in 2022. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), those numbers didn’t show signs of decreasing in 2023, as nearly 500,000 vehicles were stolen in the first six months alone.

Vehicle theft rates rose sharply in California, Texas, Washington, Florida, and Colorado, accounting for 44% of all vehicles stolen in 2022. 

Similarly, car theft rates in Canada have progressively increased, and based on latest research, a car is stolen every five minutes in the country. Équité Association, a not-for-profit that works on reducing insurance fraud, recently released its report on how often stolen vehicles are recovered, with staggering finginds. Quebec placed first, with a low recovery rate of 37%. In Atlantic Canada, they were able to accomplish a far better recovery rate of 67%, however the bulk of them were discovered only after they had been burnt, a method used by thieves to destroy physical evidence left behind after their crimes. Western Canada, which includes Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, has the highest rate at 77%.

Furthermore, even if they can’t take your vehicle, there has been a shocking rise in the theft of Catalytic Converters, increasing by 60% in 2023 and 1,700% between 2018 and 2022, according to Allstate Insurance, reinforced by Toronto news. These valuable parts can easily be removed from under your car, and prices are increasing across the country.

Which vehicles are more likely to be stolen?

According to data provided by the III (Insurance Information Institute), certain vehicle makes and models are more vulnerable to theft than others. In 2022, the following vehicles ranked among the most stolen models: the 2004 Chevrolet Pickup, with a staggering 49,903 reported thefts, followed closely by the 2006 Ford pickup with 48,175 thefts. The 2000 Honda Civic and the 1997 Honda Accord were also popular targets, both in the 27,000 range, respectively. Other frequently stolen models included the 2013 Hyundai Sonata (21,707 thefts), the 2017 Hyundai Elantra (19,602 thefts), and the 2015 Kia Optima (18,221 thefts).

Meanwhile, in Canada, the Honda CR-V remains the most stolen car. According to Équité, in 2022, the popular small SUV went missing 5,620 times. After that, the Dodge RAM 1500 was the second most popular vehicle among auto thieves. The Ford F150 finished third, followed by the Lexus RX Series in fourth and the Toyota Highlander in fifth.

Moreover, there are reports that Kia and Hyundai cars not fitted with new security measures are particularly vulnerable to theft. According to the National Public Radio’s (NPR) website, more than eight million Hyundais and Kias from model years 2011 to 2022 can be hotwired using a USB cable and do not have an engine immobilizer, a standard anti-theft mechanism that prevents the engine from starting unless the vehicle's key is nearby. In 2021 and 2022, a viral TikTok trend called the Kia Challenge showed users how to break the steering column of Kias and Hyundais using a USB cable to start the ignition.

As for the theft of catalytic converters, Toyota Prius's and Ford F250s are prime targets. These vehicles are ideal targets as their vatalytic converters are especially valuable with high platnium content, a high demand, and are easily accessible.

How to Prevent Car Theft

Over a million vehicles were stolen in the United States in 2022, totalling $8 billion in assets. According to the NHTSA, over half of stolen automobiles were taken due to driver error (such as leaving the keys in the car), with passenger cars accounting for 74% of all stolen vehicles.

While advances in technology have not only rendered cars more tempting for theft, but they have also brought measures to resist it. Dash cams are becoming increasingly popular among automobile owners who want to secure their vehicles and themselves from theft and damage. These devices, mounted on the dashboard or windshield, capture footage of the vehicle's surroundings, making them an invaluable tool for theft prevention and evidence collecting, even when you’re away.

Dash cams, particularly Cloud dash cams like BlackVue and Thinkware, are outfitted with advanced monitoring systems that can notify owners via smartphone apps if there is suspicious activity, such as unauthorized entry or movement detected while the vehicle is parked. These real-time notifications allow for quick action, potentially preventing theft attempts before they escalate. Our most recommended dash cam is the BlackVue DR770X Box, which is best for discreet installations and maximum security, through a tamper-proof box unit that can be stowed away. Read our blog on how it can help prevent car theft here.

Taking straightforward precautions can also considerably lessen the danger of car theft. Parking in well-lit, high-traffic areas helps dissuade robbers who are seeking easy targets. Whenever feasible, park in secure or monitored parking lots with surveillance cameras. Before leaving your vehicle unattended, always lock it and close all windows, even if just for a brief amount of time. Never leave valuables in plain sight inside the car, as they can attract opportunistic criminals. You should also consider installing a car alarm system that emits loud noises and flashing lights in response to unwanted entrance or tampering as a deterrent.

Protect Your Vehicle from Car Theft

In light of the rising car theft crisis, investing in a dash cam and smart security systems is no longer a luxury, but a must. Dash cams add a layer of protection by recording video evidence that can help law enforcement identify and apprehend thieves. Furthermore, the existence of a visible dash cam can serve as a deterrent, discouraging potential criminals from targeting your vehicle in the first place. Let them know they are being watched!

Whether you're receiving alerts on your phone or remotely monitoring the status of your vehicle, these technologies enable you to take proactive steps to protect your property and prevent theft. Remember that in the fight against car theft, alertness and preparedness are your best allies.

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4K UHD Resolution | Sony STARVIS 2 | Advanced Parking Modes | BlackVue Cloud Connectivity

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The DR970X Box offers around-the-clock surveillance. Its discreet yet vigilant recording provides a powerful deterrent against theft, vandalism, and break-ins, capturing clear, irrefutable evidence. Rely on your footage staying secure in the tamper-proof box unit, safely stowed away, and even backed up to a remote server through the cloud in real-time.

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