Watercraft Thefts Up in 2016

Reflecting a similar experience with vehicles, the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) annual watercraft theft report shows a one percent increase in watercraft theft in 2016, reversing a multi-year downward trend. A total of 5,116 watercraft were reported stolen between January 1 and December 31, 2016. 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 were:

The top five manufacturers for watercraft thefts were:

Most thefts in 2016 occurred during the spring and summer months with July recording the highest number with 671. February recorded the fewest with 223.

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 383 thefts would include pre-2003 models.

 

NICB in the News: Hot Spots, Stolen Motorcycles and Insurance Fraud Schemes

(MSN)These are the ‘hot spots’ for car thefts in the USA

When one thinks of Albuquerque, N.M. images of the bordering Sandia mountains, the legendary Rio Grande river that flows through the city, and an abundance of green chile peppers immediately come to mind. But there’s one more distinguishing feature that the residents of this picturesque southwestern city might not be as proud of.

Read the full story here.


(LA Times)Six California metro areas make the top 10 for highest rates of car theft, report says

Heads up, Bakersfield residents — you may want to double check that your car doors are locked.

Read the full article here.
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(WTHN)Stolen motorcycles in Connecticut

A post on the Waterbury Police Department’s Facebook page is revving up reaction from local motorcycle riders. With more than 7,000 views, it’s getting a lot of attention. It shows surveillance video capturing two young men checking out motorcycles in an old building on Johnson Street. Police say those men stole some of those bikes and now they need the pubic’s help trying to find them.

Read the full story here.


(Ledger-Enquirer.com)Warrants issued for 26 accused in $500,000 insurance fraud scheme in Columbus

Twenty-six people have been charged in a $500,000 insurance fraud ring centered in Columbus, Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens announced Wednesday during a news conference.

Read more here.

Is Your City on NICB’s 2016 Hot Spots Report For Vehicle Theft?

DES PLAINES, Ill.—The Albuquerque, N.M. metropolitan statistical area (MSA) had the highest per capita auto theft rate in 2016 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.

After rising to number two on the Hot Spots list last year, Albuquerque was chosen as the site of NICB’s annual insurance fraud and vehicle theft summit in the fall. Local and state authorities gathered to discuss the growing vehicle theft problem and address efforts to combat the problem in 2017. NICB recently ran billboard messages in the city aimed at reducing the theft rate.

New to the top 10 this year, the metro areas of Anchorage, Alaska (No. 6) and Billings, Mont. (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 Billings, with 877 thefts, places 10th while Los Angeles, with 60,670 thefts places 35th.

For 2016, 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 2016 crime data was released earlier this year, vehicle theft was up 6.6 percent across the nation. That increase is reflected in today’s Hot Spots report and is expected to hold when the final UCR 2016 crime data is published in the fall.

For comparison, below is a table showing the preliminary UCR vehicle theft data, the percent change from the previous year, and the final UCR vehicle theft figure:

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 2015, the total was 707,758. That is a 57.4 percent reduction since 1991.

While the final result for 2016 is expected to be higher than 2015’s number, the vehicle theft environment across the country is vastly improved from the 1990s.

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

In a report published last October, 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.

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.

NICB in the News: Staged Crashes, Mystery Devices and Hail Damage

WINK NEWS Fraud could be behind a recent surge in auto insurance rates.

Rates are up 21.4 percent since 2015, according to Florida Office of Insurance Regulation data. Read the story here.


KCAL9 – Police Say Car Thieves Targeting Vehicles With Keyless Entry

Police say criminals can use key fobs to disarm cars with the convenient entry option. Now they’re recommending car owners use The Club, which locks onto the steering wheel. Read the story here.


Insurance Business – How bad is your state for hail?

New data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau has listed hail as a top culprit for damaging motor vehicles. Read the story here.

 

Hailstorms Left Their Mark in 2016

DES PLAINES, Ill. — Everything is big in Texas, including hailstorms. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) said today that insurance claims for hail damage in Texas last year exceeded the previous two years combined.

Hail damage fluctuates year-to-year, but 2016 was a particularly devastating year across the country. An analysis of insurance claims from the Insurance Services Office (ISO) ClaimSearch database showed that after decreasing by 21 percent from 2014 to 2015, the number of hail claims nationwide jumped 48 percent to more than 965,000 in 2016.

Texas totaled more than four times as many hail claims as the second leading state, Colorado, and had 39 percent of all the claims filed last year.

San Antonio’s devastating hailstorms in 2016 resulted in 68,778 claims with Colorado Springs reporting 33,595.

Across the nation, most hail claims, 55 percent, were for home damage with personal auto damage representing 32 percent of all hail claims.

The report is available here. Download an infographic here.


The NICB consistently warns storm victims to be on the lookout for fraudulent roofers and contractors following a disaster.

Almost all of these scams are unsolicited—they begin with a visit from a contractor who seeks to help victims rebuild. That is why NICB recommends that “if you didn’t request it, reject it.” Before hiring any contractor, call your insurance company. Your insurance company will honor its policy so there is no need to rush into an agreement with a contractor who solicits your repair work—especially when you did not request it.

NICB suggests you consider these tips before hiring a contractor:

  • Get more than one estimate.
  • Get everything in writing. Cost, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees,
    payment schedules and other expectations should be detailed.
  • Demand references and check them out.
  • Ask to see the salesperson’s driver’s license and write down the license number and their vehicle’s license plate number.
  • Never sign a contract with blanks; unacceptable terms can be added later.
  • Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is finished and ensure reconstruction is up to current code.
  • Make sure you review and understand all documents sent to your insurance carrier.
  • Never let a contractor pressure you into hiring them.
  • Never let a contractor interpret the insurance policy language.
  • Never let a contractor discourage you from contacting your insurance company.

    Consumer Resources

  • For a free brochure with tips to avoid post-disaster fraud, click here.
  • For useful checklists, including how to spot flood and salvage vehicle scams and post-disaster contractor repair schemes, click here.For free consumer access to the vehicle salvage records of participating NICB member insurance companies who collectively provide 88 percent of the auto insurance in force today, access NICB’s VINCheck.

Motorcycle Thefts Increase Two Percent in 2016

Honda’s were the most stolen motorcycles in 2016.

DES PLAINES, Ill. – The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released a report on motorcycle thefts in the United States for 2016. A total of 46,467 motorcycles were reported stolen in 2016 compared with 45,555 reported stolen in 2015—an increase of two percent.

Although 2016 delivered another slight increase in motorcycle thefts, motorcycle thefts are down considerably since 2006. They have dropped from 66,774 in 2006 to 46,467 in 2016—a decline of 30 percent.

The top 10 states with the most reported motorcycles thefts in 2016 were California (7,506), Florida (4,482), Texas (3,692), South Carolina (2,057), North Carolina (1,847), New York (1,731), Indiana (1,397), Georgia (1,296), Missouri (1,195), and Nevada (1,177).

The top 10 cities for motorcycle thefts in 2016 were New York (1,209), San Diego (849), Las Vegas (818), Los Angeles (760) San Francisco (616), Miami (610), Houston (607), San Antonio (411), Phoenix (347), and Austin, Texas, (343).

The top 10 most stolen motorcycles in 2016 by manufacturer were American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (9,052 thefts), Yamaha Motor Corporation (7,723), American Suzuki Motor Corporation (6,229), Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (5,221), Harley Davidson, Inc. (4,953), Taotao Group Co. Ltd (2,673), KTM Sportmotorcycle AG (762), Ducati Motor Holding (521), Genuine Cycle (463), and Kymco U.S.A., Inc. (453).

The most motorcycle thefts occurred in August (5,251) and the fewest in February (2,547) which continues to reflect a weather-influenced pattern that is consistent with previous years. Download the complete report here and an infographic here.

Fraud Files: Colorado Contractor Arrested for Scamming the Elderly

A Denver, Colorado contractor has been charged with several counts of felony theft after allegedly scamming elderly homeowners through his roofing and restoration business.

Jonathan McMillan, 41, is the owner of Lifetime Roofing and Restoration. According to Jefferson County court documents, McMillan hired sales people to go door-to-door soliciting roofing business from homeowners with houses damaged primarily by hailstorms. Those employees were instructed by McMillan to have the homeowners sign contracts and collect as much insurance claim payments as quickly as possible.

To view more episodes of Fraud Files click here.

NICB Celebrates Healthiest Company in America Award

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is proud to announce national recognition as one of the Healthiest Companies in America by Interactive Health, a national leader known for its personalized wellness solutions. NICB is one of 156 companies across the country being recognized for helping employees make significant and sometimes life-saving changes to improve their health. This is the second year NICB has won the award.

With the help of strategic and flexible wellness initiatives, the Healthiest Companies in America recipients have accomplished tremendous success, achieving participation rates in excess of 70 percent and a low-risk health score for their total population, based on rigorous and clinically sound health evaluations.

“This is the 10th year we’re honoring the Healthiest Companies in America and it continues to inspire us how successful the winning companies are in building and sustaining employee engagement and inspiring positive health outcomes,” said Interactive Health President and CEO Cathy Kenworthy. “It is possible to improve health through the right workplace initiatives, and it is smart business. In addition to this year’s 156 winners, there are dozens more that are extremely close to obtaining the designation, or have met the criteria in the past, set an even higher bar for their program, and will meet that bar again in the future. We looking forward to inviting more companies into the winner’s circle next year as our technology and service enhancements make it even more possible for organizations to improve employee health.”

Participants in Interactive Health’s wellness program receive a thorough health evaluation to identify risk and learn about their health status. Through a combination of rapid outreach, connection to personal physicians and tailored resources, a personalized course of action is delivered to the participant resulting in improved or maintained health, leading NICB to this achievement.

For more information on Healthiest Companies in America, visit http://interactivehealthinc.com/client-success/healthiest-companies/.

As Storm Season is Underway, NICB Urges Texas Lawmakers to Help Stop Scam Artists

The spring storm season is underway in the Southwest where Texas bears the brunt of the most hail storm damage during the active months of March through June.

Tornadoes, violent windstorms and hail pummeled the Dallas area in late March, setting off warnings to consumers about scam artists and calls for statewide legislation to combat the problem. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), working with a task force from the state Department of Insurance, the Texas Department of Public Safety, local government officials and police agencies quickly responded to the storms to warn victims of storm chasers invading the area.

Watch the video:

In Austin, state lawmakers are currently considering SB 10 and HB 1774 aimed at hail litigation reform and HB 3293, which would allow for a voluntary certification program for roofing companies issued by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. While those debates proceed, local officials, aware of the influx of out-of-state and unregistered contractors who showed up last year following severe storms in the area, have taken matters into their own hands for now. In cities like Rockwall, contractors began going door-to-door before the rain had ended soliciting business.

Heavily damaged areas in the city of Rockwall were cordoned off by police to keep potential scam artists from going door-to-door to solicit repair work.

One local homeowner in Rockwall said he was surprised to get knocks on the door from three different contractors in the middle of the night before the rain had stopped falling through his damaged roof. He took the advice of the police and rejected the unrequested solicitations. He worked instead with a reputable local contractor and his insurance company to make temporary repairs and begin the rebuilding process.

Within a few hours, police had cordoned off the heavily damaged areas and only allowed roofers and contractors to enter if they were invited and escorted by the homeowner.

The mayor of Rockwall, Jim Pruitt, says his community learned from the response to storms over a year ago in nearby Rowlett. He welcomed the support of the task force in spreading the word about potential scam artists before the storm, and the quick response to assist local police in the neighborhoods in the aftermath of the recent damage.

NICB and Texas Department of Insurance Fraud Investigators assisted local officials in warning residents of potential fraud scams.

The Rockwall County District Attorney, Kenda Culpepper, says statewide laws that would make it tougher on unscrupulous contractors would be beneficial to consumers. But in the meantime, anyone who criminally takes advantage of storm victims will face prosecution if they can be identified and located.

NICB suggests you consider these tips before hiring a contractor:

  • Get more than one estimate
  • Get everything in writing. Cost, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules and other expectations should be detailed
  • Demand references and check them out
  • Ask to see the salesperson’s driver’s license and write down the license number and their vehicle’s license plate number
  • Never sign a contract with blanks; unacceptable terms can be added later
  • Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is finished and ensure reconstruction is up to current code
  • Make sure you review and understand all documents sent to your insurance carrier
  • Never let a contractor pressure you into hiring them
  • Never let a contractor interpret the insurance policy language
  • Never let a contractor discourage you from contacting your insurance company

Billboards Aim to Reduce Vehicle Theft Rate in Albuquerque Area

Billboard messages are popping up along Albuquerque freeways urging people to report vehicle thefts and suspects in an effort to put a dent in the local crime rate. According to the latest “Hot Spots” report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the Albuquerque metropolitan area had the second highest vehicle theft rate per capita in the nation in 2015.

Working with the New Mexico Insurance Fraud Bureau and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, NICB provided funding for the messages which will run through April on digital billboards at major locations along I-25 and I-40.

The organizations discussed collaborative efforts to help reduce the theft rate during a fraud summit held in Albuquerque last fall. The metro area was improving from the eighth spot nationally in 2008. Using bait cars provided by NICB and its member companies, law enforcement efforts moved the area down to the number 20 spot in 2012 and 2013. However, reduced funding for auto theft prevention and other issues resulted in an upswing, and 2015 saw the area rise to number two on the Hot Spots list.

The number to call for vehicle theft activity or to report suspected thieves is 505-827-9359. The line is staffed around the clock.

“We urge citizens to call us if they see something,” said Fraud Bureau Chief Roberta Baca. “The community’s assistance is essential in helping law enforcement stem the tide on this unacceptable crime rate.”