From 2016-2018, nearly 230,000 vehicles nationwide went missing due to keys left inside, creating a crime of opportunity for auto thieves, reports the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
The NICB’s recently updated report shows that an average of 200 thefts per day occur simply because drivers fail to take the keys with them when they park their vehicle.
Even worse, the trend has been on the rise. Data shows that since 2013, there has been a steady increase in these types of vehicle thefts—an average increase of 14% each year.
As for where thefts using keys happen most, California leads the nation for the top locale for this type of auto theft. That may not be surprising since the Golden State has the most cars on the road as well as the highest population.
Other states that rank among the top five for cars stolen due to keys left inside include Florida, Texas, Ohio and Nevada.
NICB reports that there is some good news. Most vehicles stolen in this manner do get recovered. In fact, only 5% of the 230,000 vehicles stolen with a key remain unrecovered.
Anti-theft technology works and is one of the primary reasons that overall auto thefts are down from their record high levels in the 1990’s. However, notes NICB, if drivers fail to take the simple steps of locking up and taking the keys with them, they could easily lose their vehicle.