DES PLAINES, Ill., April 27, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a first-of-its-kind analysis of vehicle thefts released today, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) found a disturbing trend — an increasing number of thefts of vehicles with the keys left inside.
For the years 2012 through 2014, at total of 126,603 vehicles were reported stolen with the keys left in the vehicle.
While overall vehicle thefts are declining, vehicles stolen with keys left inside are trending in the opposite direction.
As a percentage of overall thefts, 5.4 percent of vehicles stolen (39,345) in 2012 had their keys in them. That figure rose to 6 percent (42,430) in 2013, and in 2014, it increased again to 6.7 percent (44,828).
To show the significance of these numbers, if the 44,828 thefts were removed from 2014's reported estimated total of 659,717*, the thefts would fall to 614,889. The last time national vehicle thefts were that low was 1966.
"Stealing a vehicle is very difficult with today's anti-theft technology and leaving the keys in the vehicle is an open invitation for the opportunistic car thief," said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle.
"Am I shocked by these numbers? Not one bit. In fact, I'm sure the numbers are probably higher, because we are only able to determine the thefts where the car was recovered with the keys inside, or where someone admitted they left the keys in the car or the ignition. Many times that is not admitted in the police report or the insurance claim. We also see some cases where the owner gives up the car by leaving the keys in it to allow it to be stolen so that an insurance claim payment can help them get out from under a financial bind. Anyone who does that is committing fraud."
The reasons that people leave keys in their vehicles are numerous, but none of them is worth the hassle of having your car stolen. Leaving your vehicle running while you run into a store for a quick cup of coffee or to warm it up before a chilly winter commute might make sense to an individual, but it creates a perfect moment for a car thief who looks for such an opportunity.
The top five states that posted the most vehicle thefts with keys during this reporting period were California (19,597), Texas (8,796), Florida (7,868), Michigan (7,726), and Ohio (7,452). The top five core-based statistical areas (CBSA) were Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV (6,185), Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI (4,882), Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA (3,234), Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (3,141) and New York-Newark-Jersey City (2,917).
Looking at day-of-week data, Saturday saw the most thefts with keys (19,147) followed by Friday (18,719) and Monday (18,647).
*659,717 is based on the FBI's preliminary semiannual 2014 vehicle theft data indicating a reduction of 5.7 percent from 2013.
Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword "fraud" to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.
About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote $371 billion in insurance premiums in 2013, or more than 78 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 93 percent ($168 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.
SOURCE National Insurance Crime Bureau