IRVING, Texas, June 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Vehicle thefts among Allstate insured Texans dropped 2.5 percent last year, but the cars being snapped off the street are heading farther south of the border—even overseas. That's why the state's second largest auto insurer and police are urging drivers to tag and track their vehicles.
"More stolen vehicles are going as far as Guatemala and Honduras, even overseas, making them tougher to recover," said Sergeant Trinidad Salazar, with the Houston Police Department. "Stolen trucks and SUVs sent across the border are typically being used for human and drug smuggling. Stolen vehicles sent overseas are used for multiple reasons, including terrorism. That's why it's important for the public to know how complex theft has become to drive home the seriousness of the issue."
Auto Theft Breakdown by City
Allstate's numbers include partial, recovered and unrecovered vehicle thefts. Partial thefts involve parts stolen from a vehicle, recovered thefts are stolen vehicles that are found and unrecovered thefts are stolen vehicles that are never found. While Allstate's statewide auto theft number dropped overall in 2009, some major Texas cities saw increases.
Percentage Change from 2008 to 2009
Rio Grande Valley
Top Texas Vehicles Stolen
Trucks dominated the list of stolen Allstate insured vehicles in Texas last year:
Dodge Ram Pickup (2004)
Ford F150 (1997)
Honda Civic (2000)
Honda Accord (1994)
Chevrolet Extended Cab 4X2 Pickup (1997)
Ford F250 Pickup (2004)
Chevrolet Conventional Cab 4x2 Pickup (1988)
Ford F350 Pickup (2006)
Ford Taurus (1997)
Ford Explorer (2002)
"No matter where you live or what you drive, car thefts impact us all," said Oscar Meza, an Allstate agent in the Houston area. "Vehicle theft is the number one property crime in the country, costing Americans – even those who are not direct victims – about $7.6 billion a year in higher auto insurance premiums, amounting to $200-300 for every policy holder each year. That's why it's critical to be vigilant and practice common sense when it comes to parking your car."
Auto theft specialists at Allstate recommend five tips to throw off thieves.
Park in a populated, well-lit area. Auto thieves do not like witnesses and prefer unattended parking lots.
Hide Your Things:
Don't make your car a more desirable target for thieves by leaving valuables in plain sight. Put them in the trunk or take them with you.
Almost half of all vehicles stolen were left unlocked and one out of every five vehicles stolen had the keys in it. Roll up windows, lock-up doors and take your keys.
Make Your Mark:
VIN etching—a permanent engraving of a vehicle's federally registered vehicle identification number (VIN) on its windshield—makes it tougher for a thief to resell or take your vehicle across the border without replacing the marked glass.
High-tech tracking devices can alert you—and law enforcement—the moment an unauthorized user moves your vehicle.
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®" slogan, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help more than 17 million households insure what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Consumers access Allstate insurance products and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, as well as via www.allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate®.
SOURCE The Allstate Corporation