Halloween Is Fright Night for Car Thieves

car-thief-halloween

Halloween thefts for four of the past five years were higher than the daily average.

As Halloween approaches, there may be more than ghouls, gremlins and witches canvassing the landscape. How many car thieves will also be prowling the nation’s streets this Halloween disguised as trick-or-treaters as they case neighborhoods for their next target?

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has been analyzing and reporting on vehicle theft activity for over 100 years. While we’ve published hundreds of reports about vehicle theft over the years, this is the first time we have approached the topic to see what effect, if any, Halloween has on vehicle theft.

NICB examined 2011-2015 vehicle theft data contained in the National Crime Information Center’s (NCIC) Stolen Vehicle File to produce daily reported theft totals and then pulled the numbers for October 31—Halloween. The result is a straightforward presentation of theft statistics linked to Halloween, the annual celebration with roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain.

The average daily theft totals for each of the past five years was determined and then compared with the thefts reported on Halloween. Halloween thefts for four of the five years were higher than the daily average. One year, 2012, had fewer thefts.

halloweenthefts2015

So, the question remains. Is there a link between Halloween and vehicle theft? Is the behavior of vehicle thieves affected by this annual celebration? Maybe. But during the last five years the data shows more theft activity on October 31—and that’s no trick, or treat.

 

 

Looking for a secondary VIN? NICB can help members of law enforcement

IAGroupThe National Insurance Crime Bureau’s Investigative Assistance Group (IA Group) handles all incoming calls from law enforcement agencies. Requests typically include assistance in building a VIN (vehicle identification number), helping identify stolen or burned vehicles and searching for information on individuals and/or vehicles that may have been involved in major crimes.

The IA Group can help law enforcement by providing:

  • Secondary VIN locations
  • Build-ups of partial VINs
  • Manufacturer information such as shipping and components and off-line suspect runs

We have access to information for cars, trucks, motorcycles, trailers, boats and heavy equipment, and some of our VIN data goes as far back as the 1920s. We have a mirror image of NCIC and can check the status of an NCIC entry and the purged files.

IAGroup2Any law enforcement officer can call us for help at 800.447.6282, ext. 7002. You will need to provide your name, ORI code and a call-back phone number. The IA Group is available from 7am to 7pm Central Time, Monday through Friday, and can also be reached via email at IA@nicb.org.

To learn more about NICB, visit www.NICB.org.

Hot Wheels Classics: Thefts of Dodge Chargers

1971 Dodge Charger Superbee

1971 Dodge Charger Superbee

When Chrysler introduced the Dodge Charger for the 1966 model year, it wasn’t an overwhelming hit with consumers. Its second generation, however, produced for model years 1968 through 1970, did strike a sweet spot with buyers looking for a muscular performer wrapped in a fresh and striking exterior.

Who can forget 1968’s big-screen police drama “Bullitt?” Its riveting car chase with Steve McQueen piloting his 1968 Ford Mustang GT (debut HW Classics car) through San Francisco’s asphalt mountains pursuing mob hit men driving a black, 1968 Dodge Charger R/T set the standard.

1968 Dodge Charger

1968 Dodge Charger

Chargers went through five design generations from 1968 through 1987 before production ceased. After a 19-year hiatus, the Charger re-appeared for the 2006 model year. This sixth generation version includes the Dodge Charger Pursuit for law enforcement applications. Which sets up an interesting possibility—a Charger Pursuit pursuing a stolen Charger.

As NICB’s new report shows, the sixth-generation Charger is the clear favorite among car thieves as well.

NICB reviewed Charger theft data from 1981-2014 and identified 44,453 theft records. Although theft data from 1966 is available, confidence in pre-1981 theft records is low due to the inconsistency in reporting protocols and vehicle identification number (VIN) systems in use prior to 1981. When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated standardized VINs beginning with the 1981 model year, that year became the benchmark for reliable data used in all Hot Wheels Classics reports.

The top five years for Charger thefts were 2014 (3,495 thefts), 2011 (2,967), 2010 (2,950), 2009 (2,946) and 2013 (2,931). The five years with the fewest thefts were 2004 (55), 2003 (56), 2002 (71), 2001 (77) and 2000 (101).

The most popular model years for Charger thefts were 2006 (7,309), 2007 (6,059), 2008 (3,526), 2010 (2,737) and 2009 (1,564).

See the complete report here, or copy and paste the link below into your web browser.
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As always, readers should note that inconsistency and inaccuracy with vehicle theft reporting may impact the accuracy and reliability of this data.

Hot Wheels Classics: Thefts of Pontiac Firebirds

When General Motors introduced the Pontiac Firebird in 1967, it joined the growing field of “muscle cars” populated with nameplates such as the Ford Mustang and Dodge Charger both of which were scoring commercial success in the marketplace.  

But as today’s new report shows, the Firebird was also a popular target for auto thieves with more than 250,000 of them reported stolen since they were introduced.

1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

Indeed, in the late 1960s, General Motors seized the opportunity by delivering models from four of its divisions-the Buick Skylark GS (Gran Sport), Chevrolet Camaro, Oldsmobile 4-4-2 and Pontiac Firebird, to name a few. They entered a market segment that provided new and powerful cars to satisfy the need of more youthful buyers looking to drive a “personal statement” not just a car.

It didn’t take long for the Firebird to develop a strong following and over the course of its production a Firebird variant–the Trans Am-further defined the brand and its owners. The Trans Am became an instant automotive icon when it “co-starred” with Burt Reynolds in 1977’s “Smokey and the Bandit.”

KITT-Car-Knightrider

“KITT” from the TV series Knight Rider

The Trans Am’s big-screen debut was followed in 1982 when a futuristic, talking, 1982 Trans Am known as “KITT” partnered with David Hasselhoff in television’s “Knight Rider” series.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reviewed Firebird theft data from 1981-2014 and identified 249,670 theft records. Although theft data from 1967 is available, confidence in pre-1981 theft records is low due to the inconsistency in reporting protocols and vehicle identification number (VIN) systems in use prior to 1981. When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated standardized VINs beginning with the 1981 model year, that year became the benchmark for reliable data used in all Hot Wheels Classics reports.      

The top five calendar years for Firebird thefts were 1989 (19,792 thefts), 1988 (19,332), 1990 (17,785), 1987 (17,410) and 1991 (16,430). The five calendar years with the fewest thefts were 2014 (445), 2013 (585), 2012 (676), 2011 (701) and 2010 (731).

As for thieves’ most preferred model year Firebird? That distinction belongs to 1986’s model with 26,881 reported thefts. Next comes 1984 with 25,533 thefts. In third place is 1987 with 22,257 thefts. 1982 (21,213 thefts) and 1985 (20,929) round out the top five model years.

See the complete report here.

As always, readers should note that inconsistency and inaccuracy with vehicle theft reporting may impact the accuracy and reliability of this data.