Across the nation, auto thefts rose 16.5% in 2021 compared to 2019, and nearly 29% compared to 2017. Moreover, many large cities have experienced triple digit increases in carjackings in recent years.
In a move to help reverse the alarming trend, David Glawe, president and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recently provided expert testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary regarding this complex issue, while also offering some key policy recommendations.
He spoke on the rising number of crimes, the connection between auto thefts and carjackings and other serious violent crimes, and how NICB partners closely with federal and local law enforcement to resolve these cases.
Glawe also provided lawmakers with concrete policy recommendations to address the dual problems. His six policy recommendations included increasing community policing programs, revising well-intentioned criminal justice reform policies, enforcing existing laws as written, focusing attention on violent offenders, collecting national and state data on carjackings, and identifying and implementing successful early intervention programs.
The NICB collects data on both crimes — and the statistics are dire. Some states saw a huge increase in auto thefts. Colorado, for example, experienced 79% more auto thefts in 2021 compared to 2019, and Wisconsin had 74% more auto thefts over the same period.
Additionally, the total volume of thefts between 2019 and 2021 was staggering. California, for example, saw over 200,000 auto thefts in 2021 compared to 160,000 in 2019.
The carjacking trends are even more disturbing as a carjacking involves violent confrontation with an offender or the perceived threat of violence that could cause death or serious personal harm.
Between 2019 and 2021, New York experienced a 286% spike in carjackings — the biggest increase among major metropolitan areas. Philadelphia, which saw a 238% increase, came in second and Chicago followed that with 207%. Carjackings rose 200% in Washington, D.C., and 159% in New Orleans during the same period.