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December 03, 2015

Stealing White Cars After Labor Day - Still In Fashion

Apparently with all of the other seasons clogging up the American calendar, we all forgot that December marks the start of car theft season. At least in Cali, (according to analysis by the Automobile Club of Southern California).

I want to note 2 parts of the Telematics Journal article that strike me:

"Statewide in 2004, 127,975 cars, pickups, vans and SUVs were stolen. More than 11 percent of them - 14,306 vehicles - were stolen in December, which was more than any other month. In San Diego County in December 2004, 2,186 cars, pickups, vans and SUVs were stolen - 15.3 percent of the statewide total and almost 10 percent of the total number stolen countywide last year.

In terms of total commercial and non-commercial vehicle thefts (automobiles, personal trucks, commercial trucks, motorcycles, recreational vehicles and trailers), San Diego County (26,321) trails only Los Angeles County (71,850) in the total number of vehicles stolen last year. "

OK, that's a LOT of stolen cars. So one would thing, "hey, lots of cars get stolen, perhaps we (police) should DO something about it!". Unfortunately, the police are rarely there to catch someone in the act. Stealing a car is a rather quick affair. So the police can't be held accountable for the number of cars stolen. A metric that they can be accountable to is cars recovered. This takes me to the second thing that struck me:

"Today, the Auto Club honors CHP Patrol Officer Joe Garcia for having the highest number of recovered stolen vehicles in San Diego County in 2004 and to date in 2005. In 2004, Garcia recovered nine stolen vehicles with an estimated total value of $50,000. In 2005, Garcia has made six vehicle recoveries, which resulted in three in-custody arrests, with an estimated total value of $25,000."

An officer is being recognized for recovering 9 cars in a year. 9. And this year, 6. So in 24 months, 15 cars. As stated earlier, 26,321 cars were stolen in San Diego county. So he single handedly brought that huge number down to 26,315 for last year. Woot!

This begs the question, why are cars still so easy to steal? Or more to the point, who is making money on keeping the rate of cars stolen flat. Automakers love stolen cars. When a car is stolen, wow, someone needs a NEW one! How about that? Funny how that works. Would automakers lose money if their cars were impossible to steal? In a word, yes. How about insurance companies, don't they want less stolen cars? I would venture a guess and say no. Less stolen cars mean lower premiums. Lower premiums mean less revenue. Follow the money. If cars were impossible to steal insurance companies would have to charge you LESS for theft. The concept of less is quite foreign to insurance companies.

At the end of the day it appears that the only people who don't benefit from car theft are the consumers. Should we demand glass that's harder to break (without making it too hard for first responders to extricate people from wrecks), steering column parts made from cold-rolled heavy gauge tempered steel, replacing key cylinders with biometrics and or RFID keys, integrating fuel shut-off / battery-started disconnects into the locking system? Yes, actually, we should.

Posted by Lionel Felix at December 3, 2015 06:01 PM

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