NICB West Region Task Forces – Vehicle Recovery Work

On average, over 2,100 vehicles are stolen every day in the United States. But not all of them remain stolen, nearly 60% of vehicles are recovered. Not by the owners, but often by Auto Theft Task Forces. These groups are made up of local, county, and state law enforcement, along with agents from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. They work together to recover stolen vehicles, make auto theft related arrests, serve search warrants, launch investigations, conduct vehicle inspections, and assist other law enforcement agencies.

During the month of July, nine separate Vehicle Task Forces across the western United States recovered a total of 350 stolen vehicles. The value of those recovered rides totals $2,749,558.

In August, those same Vehicle Task Forces recovered 407 stolen vehicles, valued at $3,228,992.

In addition to getting the stolen vehicles back to their rightful owners, many of the recoveries lead to tips or arrests regarding other crimes. One patrol unit stopped a stolen rental car, then learned the individuals inside the car possessed stolen or counterfeit drivers licenses, matching credit cards, and 13 pounds of marijuana. Another team, working a stolen vehicles parts investigation, in turn recovered several cloned vehicles, found various firearms, and nearly 300 pounds of methamphetamine.

NICB facilitates cement mixer donation to San Diego Job Corps

On Friday, October 5th, 2018, Special Agent Brent Bowser, of the NICB Western Region, facilitated the donation of a Western Cement Mixer from the San Diego Sheriff’s Department Evidence Unit to the San Diego Job Corps’ Bricklaying Trade School.

SA Bowser has been assisting San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Evidence Unit on identifying and returning, in part, equipment and trailers that field deputies have impounded and stored at the Sheriff’s Evidence lot.

During the process, a Western Cement Mixer had been seized by the Sheriff’s Department a few years ago and the owner was not able to be located. SA Bowser contacted the manufacturer, Western, who provided the local distributor where it was originally sent. SA Bowser then conducted a records check and reached out to the local distributor for records, but none were available regarding ownership.

SA Bowser then reached out to the local Job Corps’ Bricklaying instructor, Mr. Peter Camarda, about the cement mixer, and assisted Mr. Camarda on obtaining it from the Sheriff’s Department.

San Diego Sheriff’s Department Lead Evidence Technician, Flavio Alfaro, loaded the mixer on a Sheriff’s truck and delivered it to Job Corps. Without the work of SA Bowser, and the collaboration with the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, the mixer would have been sent to a scrap metal facility for disposal. Mr. Camarda gave thanks for the donation of this cement mixer, and said they can now take on other projects within the San Diego community, such as building dug-outs for little league fields.

NICB’s Hot Wheels: America’s 10 Most Stolen Vehicles

DES PLAINES, Ill. – The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its annual Hot Wheels report, which identifies the 10 most stolen vehicles in the United States. The report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2017.

While Honda Accords and Civics produced prior to the introduction of anti-theft technology continue to dominate this report, a deeper look at the data demonstrates just how effective anti-theft technology continues to be. A total of (6,707) 1998 Honda Civics were stolen in 2017 compared with just (388) 2017 Civics. Put another way, (17) 1998 Civics were stolen last year for every one 2017 model.

Included with today’s release is a list of the top 25, 2017 vehicle makes and models that were reported stolen in calendar year 2017.

Even with the slight increases in the last few years, the national vehicle theft problem today is at levels not seen since 1967. Enhancements in vehicle security and manufacturing are having a positive impact, but complacency can undermine their success. Thousands of vehicles continue to be stolen each year because owners leave their keys or fobs in the vehicles, and that invites theft.

For 2017, the most stolen vehicles* in the nation were:

See the 2017 national report, the state report, an infographic and video.

The following are the top 10, 2017 model year vehicles stolen during calendar year 2017:

Download the complete list of 2017’s top 25 most stolen.

Vehicle theft is a severe economic hardship for its victims—especially if a vehicle is uninsured. That is why NICB continues to advise all drivers to review our four “Layers of Protection”:
Common Sense: Lock your car and take your keys. It’s simple enough, but many thefts occur because owners make it easy for thieves to steal their cars.
Warning Device: Having and using a visible or audible warning device is another item that can ensure that your car remains where you left it.
Immobilizing Device: Generally speaking, if your vehicle can’t be started, it can’t be stolen. “Kill” switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are among the devices that are extremely effective.
Tracking Device: A tracking device emits a signal to the police or to a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ “telematics,” which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.

Considering a used vehicle purchase? Check out VINCheck®, a free vehicle history service for consumers. Since 2005, NICB has offered this limited service made possible by its participating member companies. Check it out at: www.nicb.org/vincheck.

*This report reflects stolen vehicle data contained in NCIC and present in the “NCIC mirror image” when accessed by NICB on March 5, 2018. NCIC records may contain errors based on inaccurate entries submitted by reporting agencies. Full size pickups include half ton and larger capacity models for all makes.

 

 

NICB Disappointed by Gov. Brown’s Veto

Legislation Would Have Allowed Car Rental Companies to More Quickly Report Vehicle Theft

DES PLAINES, Ill., Sept. 17, 2018 — The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is expressing disappointment in Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s August 27 veto of Assembly Bill 2169. Assembly Bill 2169 reduces the time from five days to 48 hours, following the expiration of the rental period, before a vehicle rental company may report a vehicle stolen.

In his veto message, Governor Brown cites increased use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and unnamed “other solutions” as better approaches.

While GPS technology certainly is one tool in curbing automobile theft, it is an exponentially useless tool if California car rental companies cannot report the vehicle stolen. Worse, criminals are becoming more skilled in locating and disabling GPS technology.

“Every passing day a car rental company cannot report their vehicle stolen, the likelihood of that vehicle being recovered decreases,” says Joseph H. Wehrle, Jr., NICB President and Chief Executive Officer. “Car rental companies can watch, in real time, their stolen vehicle taken over the U.S.-Mexico border with little recourse.”

According to NICB’s annual Hot Spots vehicle theft report, five of the top 10 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), adjusted for population, for auto theft are located in California: Redding (4), Bakersfield (6), Modesto (7), Stockton-Lodi (8), and Yuba City (9).

Assembly Bill 2169 passed both California legislative chambers with only one dissenting vote. The NICB applauds sponsor Assemblyman Randy Voepel and the California legislature for taking a step in the right direction toward reducing California auto theft, and looks forward to the legislation being reintroduced.

To access the NICB’s Hot Spots Vehicle Theft Report, please visit: nicb.org/news

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.

NICB’s 2017 Hot Spots Vehicle Theft Report

DES PLAINES, Ill., July 12 — The Albuquerque, N.M. metropolitan statistical area (MSA) repeats as having the highest per capita auto theft rate in 2017, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) latest Hot Spots report.

Hot Spots examines vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for each of the nation’s MSAs. MSAs are designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and often include areas much larger than the cities for which they are named. For example, this year’s number one spot, the Albuquerque, N.M. MSA, includes all thefts within the entire county of Bernalillo, not just the city of Albuquerque.

New to the top 10 this year, the metro areas of St. Joseph (No. 5) and Springfield, Mo. (No. 10). As a population-based survey, an area with a much smaller population and a moderate number of thefts can—and often does—have a higher theft rate than an area with a much more significant vehicle theft problem and a larger population to absorb it. Which is how St. Joseph, with 952 thefts, places 5th while Los Angeles, with 60,444 thefts places 33rd.

For 2017, the 10 MSAs with the highest vehicle theft rates were: (thefts in parentheses)

 

 

 

 

 

Each year the FBI releases preliminary Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data for the previous year’s January–June time frame. When the preliminary 2017 crime data was released earlier this year, vehicle theft was up 4.1 percent across the nation. That increase is reflected in today’s Hot Spots report and is expected to hold when the final UCR 2017 crime data is published in the fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, vehicle theft is down, dramatically, across the nation. The historic peak year for vehicle theft was 1991, with 1,661,738 reported thefts. In 2016, the total was 765,484. That is a 54 percent reduction since 1991.

While the final result for 2017 is expected to be higher than 2016’s number (although the rate of increase is decreasing), the vehicle theft environment across the country has improved significantly since the 1990s.

But it could be much better if vehicle owners just followed simple security advice.

In a report published in October 2016, NICB found that for the years 2013 through 2015, a total of 147,434 vehicles were reported stolen with the keys left in them—57,096 in 2015 alone. With the debut of “smart keys” in 1997 and all of the improved anti-theft technology since, it is worthless if drivers continue to leave their keys in the car or leave their vehicles running, unattended, while they make a quick stop at a convenience store.

Vehicle manufacturers, law enforcement and legislatures have been responsive to the crime of vehicle theft over the years, and the results are evident. Vehicle owners must guard against complacency and remember to heed simple tips to safeguard their vehicles.

The full Hot Spots report is available at www.nicb.org. See the Hot Spots video here and a graphic here.

NICB recommends that drivers follow our four “layers of protection” to guard against vehicle theft:

Common Sense — The common sense approach to protection is the easiest and most cost-effective way to thwart would-be thieves. You should always:
∙Remove your keys from the ignition
∙Lock your doors/close your windows
∙Park in a well-lit area

Warning Device — The second layer of protection is a visible or audible device which alerts thieves that your vehicle is protected. Popular devices include:
∙Audible alarms
∙Steering column collars
∙Steering wheel/brake pedal lock
∙Brake locks
∙Wheel locks
∙Theft deterrent decals
∙Identification markers in or on vehicle
∙VIN etching
∙Micro dot marking

Immobilizing Device — The third layer of protection is a device which prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys. Other devices inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated. Some examples are:
∙Smart keys
∙Fuse cut-offs
∙Kill switches
∙Starter, ignition and fuel pump disablers
∙Wireless ignition authentication

Tracking Device — The final layer of protection is a tracking device which emits a signal to police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ “telematics” which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.

Action on Model Towing Bill

The National Council of State Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) approved the Consumer Protection Model Towing Act at their Summer Meeting in Salt Lake City.  The Act will serve as a guide to aide state lawmakers better regulate the towing industry, help protect accident victims from overzealous solicitation and addresses other key areas.   NICB served as a valued resource to NCOIL on the model’s formation. Special thanks to Indiana State Representative Matt Lehman on sponsoring the model as well as  contributions from NICB member companies, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies and others.

 

Motorcycle Thefts Continue to Decrease in 2017

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its annual report on motorcycle thefts in the United States for 2017.  A total of 44,268 motorcycles were reported stolen in 2017 compared with 46,467 reported stolen in 2016—a decrease of five percent.
 
After several years of consecutive declines, motorcycle thefts increased in 2015 and 2016. However, 2017’s result may signal a resumption of the downward trend.  
 
The top 10 states with the most reported motorcycles thefts in 2017 were California (7,532), Florida (4,323), Texas (3,525), South Carolina (1,732), North Carolina (1,632), New York (1,547), Missouri (1,409), Georgia (1,235), Indiana (1,204) and Arizona (1,057).
 
The top 10 cities for motorcycle thefts in 2017 were New York (980), San Diego (846), Los Angeles (833), Las Vegas (583), Miami (575), San Francisco (568), Houston (424), San Antonio (413), Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (350), and Philadelphia (342).
 
The top 10 most stolen motorcycles in 2017 by manufacturer were American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (8,781thefts), Yamaha Motor Corporation (7,298), American Suzuki Motor Corporation (5,530), Harley Davidson, Inc. (5,138), Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (5,101), Taotao Group Co. Ltd (2,305), KTM Sportmotorcycle AG (722), Genuine Cycle (532), Ducati Motor Holding (520), and Kymco U.S.A., Inc. (484).
 
The most motorcycle thefts occurred in July and August with 4,951 each. The fewest in December (2,494) which continues to reflect a weather-influenced pattern that is consistent with previous years.
 
Download the complete report here and an infographic here.

 

Over 1.7 Million Animal-Related Insurance Claims Since 2014

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released a study on the number of animal-related insurance losses for the years 2014-2017. The data is gleaned from insurance claims for losses that occurred in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. A total of 1,740,425 animal-related insurance claims were processed with 1,739,687 of them—99.9 percent—involving vehicles. The actual number of incidents is likely much higher since many drivers do not choose to carry coverage for that type of event.

About 640,000 of those claims specified one of the top five animals involved and over the four-year period, 91 percent of those claims involved deer.

Over 584,000 deer were involved in vehicle collsions from 2014-2017.

While all animal-related claims went up six percent over the four-year period, those that specified a deer was involved actually declined by 30 percent.

The top five animals involved in vehicle collisions were deer (584,165), raccoons (22,644), dogs (20,610), turkeys (7,289) and coyotes (6,023).


The top five states where these incidents occurred were: Pennsylvania (145,728), New York (115,670), Texas (105,036), Wisconsin (81,282) and North Carolina (79,252).

The top five cities where for these encounters were: San Antonio (3,945), Austin, Tex. (2,452), New York (2,442), Pittsburgh (2,115) and Rochester, NY (1,929).

You can download the complete report here and an infographic here.

Animal-related losses are good reason to make sure that you have adequate insurance and understand your coverage to protect against losses from these and other kinds of damage-causing incidents. The average animal crash claim amounted to about $4,000 in 2016 according to one major insurer. That would have amounted to nearly $1.8 billion in claims in 2016.

Boat Thefts Continue to Sink

The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) 2017 watercraft theft report shows a five percent decrease and resumes the downward trend in thefts that was broken by 2016’s slight increase. A total of 4,864 watercraft were reported stolen between January 1 and December 31, 2017. The report is based on theft data contained in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The top five states for thefts in descending order were:

 

 

 

 

 

The top five cities for thefts in descending order were:

 

 

 

 

 

The top five types of watercraft stolen in descending order were:

 

 

 

 

 

The top five manufacturers for watercraft thefts in descending order were:

 

 

 

 

 

Most thefts in 2017 occurred during the months of May, June, July, August and September with June recording the highest number with 628. December saw the fewest with 222.

Download the complete watercraft report and an infographic.

Boat owners are reminded to practice safe and smart boating. That includes personal safety while on the water, as well as theft prevention.

NICB recommends the following tips to protect your watercraft from theft:

* When you “dock it, lock it” and secure it to the dock with a steel cable
* Remove expensive equipment when not in use
* Chain and lock detachable motors to the boat
* Do not leave title or registration papers in the craft
* Disable the craft by shutting fuel lines or removing batteries
* Use a trailer hitch lock after parking a boat on its trailer
* Install a kill switch in the ignition system
* Ensure your marine insurance policy includes your equipment, boat and trailer
* Take photos of the boat and mark it with a Hull Identification Number (HIN)

More anti-theft information can be found in our boat theft brochure.

* Described below are the 13 watercraft types as found in the NCIC code manual, one of which is “Jet Ski”—NCIC’s universal name for all personal watercraft without regard to manufacturer. Jet Ski is also the registered trademark for Kawasaki Motor Corporation’s line of personal watercraft.

Airboat: not defined
Commercial: ferry, oyster boat, motor barge, towboat, tug, clam dredge, coaster, riverboat, smack boat, etc.
Cruiser: a boat with an inboard motor that is at least 25 feet long, but no longer than 50 feet
Houseboat: not defined
Hovercraft: not defined
Hydrofoil: not defined
Hydroplane: not defined
Jet-Ski (PWC): aqua bike
Runabout: launch, motorboat, outrider, speedboat, etc.
Sailboat: cat, catamaran, cutter, bark, ketch, lateen, lugger, pinnace, schooner, sloop, yawl, etc.
Utility: fisherman, sedan, etc.
Yacht: a boat with an inboard motor that is more than 50 feet long and is used mainly for pleasure or recreation
All other: canoe, dinghy, dory, johnboat, kayak, lifeboat, paddleboat, rowboat, skull, skiff, etc.

**In 2003, Bombardier Corp. sold off its recreational products division. The Sea-Doo personal watercraft is now produced by Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc. Thus, the 425 thefts would include pre-2003 models.