5 Worst States for Car Theft

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A new analysis by the Council on Criminal Justice (CCJ) reveals a 59% increase in car theft across the US from 2019 to 2022, which spiked with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Richard Rosenfeld, the author of the CCJ study, says that car theft began increasing around the start of the pandemic and persisted until the end of 2022, with no sign of reversing. The CCJ report shows a combined increase of 37,560 car thefts across 30 cities in 2022 compared to the previous year. If you live in one of the states with the worst car theft statistics, take extra precautions to keep your vehicle safe.

5th Worst: New Mexico

With a rate of 427.2 thefts per 100,000 residents

New Mexico is one of the top states for auto theft according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The state is facing car theft problems, especially in the cities near Mexico. The state is susceptible to drug cartel activity, who use stolen cars for financing and transporting drugs, weapons, and money. To tackle the auto theft issue, New Mexico law enforcement and government officials have partnered with the insurance industry and strengthened penalties for auto theft through legislation.

4th Worst: Colorado

With a rate of 384.0 thefts per 100,000 residents

In 2021, Colorado was dubbed the “Car Theft Capital of America” and its car theft rate has continued to surge, putting it in a position to keep the title. The 2005 Chevrolet Silverado Truck, 2004 Ford F-250, 2000 Honda Civic, 1997 Honda Accord, and 2017 Hyundai Sonata are among the top vehicles stolen in the state, according to the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority. Denver, which has the second-worst car theft problem in the US after Tacoma, Washington, is the state’s problem area for thefts, according to the report.

3rd Worst: Hawaii

With a rate of 371.1 thefts per 100,000 residents

Hawaii has been facing a growing problem of car theft in recent years. A 2016 statistic shows that the average car theft rate in Hawaii is 25% higher than the national average per 100,000 people. There are several theories as to why the rate of car theft is higher in Hawaii than in other parts of the United States, but the most widely accepted one is its correlation with drug use in the state.

The state has seen a rise in the use of cocaine and methamphetamine over the last few years. This trend often leads to a higher rate of theft, particularly for high-value items such as automobiles. This is because drug users may resort to theft to finance their habit or to obtain transportation for drug trafficking activities.

2nd Worst: Nevada

With a rate of 365.6 thefts per 100,000 residents

Nevada is considered one of the worst states for car theft for several reasons. First, its location along major highways and its proximity to the border with California make it a hub for organized car theft rings that smuggle stolen vehicles out of the state. Secondly, the state’s large tourist population and a high number of rental cars can make it easier for criminals to blend in and steal cars unnoticed.

Additionally, Nevada has a high population of drug users who may resort to car theft to finance their habit or for use in drug trafficking activities. Finally, the state has seen growth in its urban areas, leading to an increase in crime, including car theft, in those areas.

The Worst: Oregon

With a rate of 360.0 thefts per 100,000 residents

The city of Portland, Oregon has seen a worrying increase in car theft, with November 2021 being the worst month on record since police started publishing monthly data in 2015. According to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), 1,140 vehicles were reported stolen in that month alone. 

The situation is even more concerning as the number of car thefts reported so far this year has increased by 36% compared to the same period in 2020, with a total of 8,024 vehicles stolen. These statistics highlight the pressing need for both law enforcement and the community to take action in addressing the issue of car theft in Portland.

With the increase in car theft in the US, it is imperative to take action to address this issue. The Council on Criminal Justice’s analysis reveals that car theft has increased by 59% from 2019 to 2022, with no signs of stopping.

Law enforcement and the community must work together to combat car theft and ensure the safety of citizens and their vehicles. With the alarming statistics of car theft, it is time to take a stand and create solutions to this pressing issue.