More than 745,000 vehicles were stolen in the first three quarters of 2022, with over 250,000 having been reported to law enforcement since the end of June, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). This represents a 24% increase compared to the same time period in 2019.
Moreover, vehicle thefts are the highest they’ve been since 2008.
The NICB says the U.S. is nearing “record highs.” If the trend continues, theft totals could exceed 1 million stolen vehicles nationally by the end of the year and surpass pre-pandemic highs by more than 100,000 stolen vehicles.
Noteworthy, holiday season is also prime season for auto thieves. According to previous analysis by the NICB, vehicle thefts tend to increase in the last three months of the year. If history repeats itself once again, the U.S. will see thefts trending around yearly highs through the end of the year.
Now is a good time for fleet operators to remind drivers to take all the necessary steps to keep their vehicles secure. The NICB offers the following advice.
For starters, never leave a vehicle running or unattended. In fact, countless vehicles are stolen due to that very scenario every year. Leaving a car “idling” with the keys in it is one of the easiest targets for thieves.
Fleet drivers should always roll up the window, lock the door, and take their keys or fob with them. Caution them, too, to never leave items like laptops, cell phones, or even food visible as these are invitations for thieves to break into the vehicle. Instead, store items in the glove compartment, trunk, or on the floor of the vehicle. Finally, park in well-lit areas, ideally staffed with a security team and/or outfitted with cameras.
If any of your fleet vehicles are stolen, call law enforcement and your insurer immediately. Reporting a vehicle as soon as possible after it is stolen increases the chance of recovery.
Other vehicle crimes are on the rise, too. In a previous report, the NICB found that in the first half of 2022 catalytic converter thefts have increased 1,215% nationwide since 2019, and carjackings have increased 160% to over 500% in some major cities since 2019.