Auto thefts hit lowest rate in 30 years

July 18, 2011 12:00 AM

The rate of auto thefts in the United States has fallen to the lowest point since 1967, according to recent data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

Figures for 2010 show that thefts declined to about 739,000 vehicles, which is a 7.2 percent drop from 2009. The total also reflects the lowest national rate in more than 40 years.

The NICB chalked much of the change up to the superior technology and anti-theft devices that were preventing criminals from breaking into cars.

"Technology both on the manufacturing end and what comes out of the automakers is a lot better than it was," Frank Scafidi, a spokesman for the NICB, told Bloomberg. "Even on the baseline vehicle today, it’s harder to steal than in 2000."

Some key urban areas contributed to the decline in auto thefts. New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Detroit and Dallas were all examples of cities that reported declining auto rates. Some of these cities, such as Dallas, have begun dedicated police programs designed to stop the crime. Dallas police have been using "bait" programs, where they leave an unlocked car in a troublesome area, which is helping them catch would-be thieves red-handed.

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