WASHINGTON – The FBI released its analysis of crime statistics for 2011, part of which covered property crime, including vehicle thefts. For 2011, the FBI estimates 715,373 thefts of motor vehicles nationwide, which is 229.6 thefts per 100,000 inhabitants. This is a 3.3% drop from 2010, and a and 42.6% drop when compared with 2002 numbers.

The total cost of motor vehicle thefts in 2011 was $4.3 billion, and the average dollar loss per vehicle was $6,089. Out of the total number of vehicles stolen, 476,164 were passenger vehicles, 101,205 were trucks and buses, and 67,318 were other vehicles.

Motor vehicle theft does not include farm equipment, bulldozers, airplanes, construction equipment, or water craft such as motorboats, sailboats, houseboats, or jet skis, the FBI stated.

Auto anti-theft device company LoJack conducted an analysis of the data and noted that although the overall trend showed a decrease, 22 states saw year-over-year increases, vs. only 12 states seeing an increase in 2010. Also, nearly 40% of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) saw year-over-year increases in vehicle theft in 2011 compared to 23% in 2010.

LoJack added that MSAs with rising vehicle theft rates are often home to international shipping ports, including San Francisco; Savannah, Ga., and Bridgeport, Conn. Also, LoJack noted that many of the MSAs with rising vehicle theft rates are within 250 miles of San Francisco's international port, including Chico, Merced, Napa, Redding, Salinas, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz, and Yuba City.

In terms of regional differences, one-third of all vehicle thefts occurred in the four states bordering Mexico, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, according to LoJack’s analysis.

For more on protecting your fleet from criminals, you can check out this article from the March 2012 issue of Automotive Fleet here.