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Despite falling crime rates, drivers should be vigilant about auto theft

Auto theft is a concern around New Year’s Day, data shows

Crime rates nationwide dropped in the first half of 2009, FBI data shows, but drivers should still be vigilant about auto theft, especially around New Year’s.

New Year’s Day was the number-one holiday for vehicle thefts in 2008, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reported last month. One vehicle was stolen every 33 seconds, the group said.

The reasons for higher theft rates are manifold: thieves may believe that people are more distracted on the holiday or may take advantage of drivers who leave their cars turned on to warm them up.

During the recession that dominated headlines in 2009, robbery rates actually dropped in much of the country, criminal justice website The Crime Report said recently. That runs contrary to typical recessionary trends, University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist Richard Rosenfeld suggested: crimes for monetary gain “tend to increase during economic downturns,” he was quoted as saying.

But for drivers concerned about their auto insurance costs – and the security of their personal property – auto theft is a constant concern. Parking in well-lit areas and locking one’s car can help stave off theft, experts say.

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Posted: January 11, 2010

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