2014 auto thefts continue decline in US and most Ohio cities

COLUMBUS (June 24, 2015) –Findings from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) indicate that while US vehicle thefts are down dramatically, the reasons they are stolen remain the same. The NICB 2014 Hot Spots report notes that older vehicles are stolen primarily for their parts value while newer, higher-end vehicles are often shipped overseas or, after some disguising, they’re sold to innocent buyers.

The 2014 preliminary FBI Uniform Crime Report shows a 5.7% decrease in auto thefts in the US for the first six months of 2014, following a 3.2% decrease reported last year, a 1.7% increase in 2012 and a 5% decrease in 2011.

The Ohio Insurance Institute (OII) notes that 10 of the 15 Ohio metro areas (MSAs) in the NICB Hot Spots report mirror US trends, showing a decrease in auto thefts between 2013 and 2014 (click here for Ohio’s MSA auto theft rate report for 2014).

Cleveland remains the top Ohio city based on its 2014 auto theft rate, with about 280 vehicles stolen per 100,000 in population. It ranks 64th on NICB’s national list (ranked 52nd in 2013, 61st in 2012, 57th in 2011, 82nd in 2010). Springfield ranks 123rd nationally and has the second highest auto theft rate in the state, followed by Dayton at 127th. Rounding out Ohio’s top five cities based on auto thefts for 2014 are Toledo at 128th and Columbus with a national ranking of 142nd. Of these five, only Springfield reported an increase in auto thefts between 2013–14.

About the 2014 Hot Spots study

The NICB report examines vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for all US MSAs. MSAs, designated by the Office of Management and Budget, often include areas beyond city boundaries.

The Hot Spots study is population-based, and should be viewed as an indicator of areas more prone to auto theft. NICB reports that an area with a much smaller population and a moderate number of thefts can—and often does—have a higher theft rate than an area with a much more significant vehicle theft problem and a larger population to absorb it.

According to NICB findings, seven of the 10 top spots for auto theft are in California, with two in Washington and one in Texas. The top 10 MSAs for 2014 auto thefts based on theft rates per 100,000 in population (actual number of stolen vehicles in parenthesis) are:
2014 Rankings                                                                                                  2013 Rankings

  1. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.   (29,093)                             4          (29,326)
  2. Bakersfield, Calif. (5,211)                                                                         1             (6,267)
  3. Stockton-Lodi, Calif. (4,245)                                                                     5             (4,245)
  4. Odessa, Texas  (886)                                                                              12                 (764)
  5. Modesto, Calif. (3,047)                                                                              3               (3,565)
  6. Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash. (3,032)                                             7               (3,205)
  7. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif. (2,414)                                                                 8               (2,540)
  8. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash. (20,268)                                          13             (18,128)
  9. Fresno, Calif. (5,260)                                                                                  2               (6,750)
  10. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.  (10,531)                               9              (10,925)

NICB is the nation’s leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations.

OII is a trade association representing insurance companies and agent groups for Ohio’s property/casualty insurance industry. Its primary objective is to help Ohioans achieve a better understanding of insurance and safety-related issues.

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FOR OHIO INFORMATION:  Dean Fadel, 614.228.1593

NICB CONTACTS: Frank Scafidi, 916.979.1510 / Carol Kaplan 202.604.5649