Phoenix, Arizona - The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reported today that 2011 continued the trend of declining vehicle thefts nationwide for the eighth consecutive year. The FBI’s preliminary 2011 crime statistics released last week indicate a 3.3 percent drop in vehicle thefts nationwide from the 2010 number of 737,142.
The 2011 "Hot Spots" report, which tracks auto theft data throughout the nation, indicates that Arizona continued to show impressive reductions in auto theft last year.
The Phoenix MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area), which had the dubious distinction of ranking the #1 "Hot Spot" just over ten years ago, has continued to plunge down to 60th place. Tucson, which previously held the #2 spot, fell to #37 during that period; Yuma dropped to #119.
"Many factors go into this drastic reduction of auto theft in Arizona," stated Brian R. Salata, Arizona Automobile Theft Authority Executive Director. "Our law enforcement partners have made incredible strides in the battle against auto theft. Credit also goes to our multi-jurisdictional Arizona Vehicle Theft Task Force, presently working with local, state and federal agencies to thwart smuggling activities by the cartels operating south of our border. Last year, the Task Force recovered nearly 1,500 vehicles worth over $19 million; hundreds of suspects were arrested and dozens of chop shops shut down statewide." The use of bait cars, technological vehicle locating/identifying devices and owner-applied theft deterrent/recovery systems are also delivering outstanding results. The AATA recommends a "layered approach" to guard against vehicle theft and burglary. Layer #1 -- Common Sense • Always lock your car, close all windows and take the keys. • Avoid vehicle burglaries - do not leave valuables in vehicle or make certain they’re not in plain view. • Never leave your vehicle running unattended. • Park in high foot traffic, well lighted areas or attended lots - car thieves do not like witnesses. • Do not hide a spare set of keys in the car - the pros know where to look. • If you have a garage, use it. • Snap and save a pic of your license plate(s) with your cell/camera phone for faster reporting to law enforcement if your vehicle is stolen. Layer #2 -- Visible & Audible Warning Devices
The second layer of protection is any device that can be SEEN or HEARD and alerts thieves that your vehicle is protected. Some popular examples include: • Audible alarms, steering wheel locks, brake locks • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etching on vehicle windows – visit the AATA’s website (www.azwatchyourcar.com – Events calendar) for a list of upcoming events.
Layer #3 – Immobilizers The third layer of protection is immobilizer devices which prevent thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some popular devices include: • Kill switches • Starter, ignition and fuel disablers • Smart keys • High security locks & keys • Fuse cut-offs Layer #4 -- Tracking Devices The final layer of protection is a tracking device which emits a signal to a police or monitoring station when the vehicle is reported stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles.