Auto theft rate drops to lowest level since 1960

Vehicle owners should continue to be vigilant against theft, GEICO says

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 15, 2014 – Car owners worried about lease payments, maintenance headaches and other problems can finally enjoy some good news when it comes to their vehicle. A recent report released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) found that car owners are statistically less likely to become victims of auto theft today than at any other time since 1960.

The auto theft rate per 100,000 people, which steadily rose from 180 in 1960 to a peak of 659 in 1991, has decreased almost every year since. In 2013 the rate per 100,000 people dropped to 221, according to the report.

Improvements in law enforcement efforts are a big reason for the decline due to enhanced collaboration and coordination between theft investigation agencies. Technological features such as automatic alarms, remote door mechanisms and other anti-theft devices are also major reasons for the lowered theft rate, according to NICB.

"It's a really encouraging sign for drivers that the vehicle theft rate has decreased the past few decades after topping out in the early 1990s," said Ryan West, GEICO's vice president of claims. "That said, auto theft will continue to be a threat that vehicle owners will have to protect themselves against in the future. There are thieves out there keeping up with technological advances and finding other ways to steal cars."

NICB cited key theft, rental vehicle theft, fraudulent financing and VIN switching as new methods of auto theft that are on the rise.

GEICO offers information on what to do after a theft and tips on reporting a claim at the GEICO Claims Center.

GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO, which was founded in 1936, provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually. The company is pleased to serve more than 15 million private passenger customers, insuring more than 24 million vehicles (auto & cycle).

Using GEICO's online service center, policyholders can purchase policies, make policy changes, report claims and print insurance ID cards. Policyholders can also connect to GEICO through the GEICO App, reach a representative over the phone or visit a GEICO local agent.

GEICO also provides insurance quotes on motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), boats, travel trailers and motorhomes (RVs). Coverage for life, homes and apartments is written by non-affiliated insurance companies and is secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency, Inc. Commercial auto insurance and personal umbrella protection are also available.

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