Report: Car thefts on the rise but not in Pennsylvania

July 31, 2018 GMT

Although auto thefts are on the rise nationally, Pennsylvania metro areas rank in the bottom half for the U.S. car theft rate.

A report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, using FBI statistics, said car thefts rose by 4.1 percent from 2016 to 2017, continuing a three-year upward trend.

“The good news for Pennsylvania drivers is the NICB report shows all Pennsylvania metro areas are in the bottom half of the 382 metro areas included in the report,” said Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman.

Even so, nearly 17,000 Pennsylvania residents living in the 18 areas covered by the report were victims of car theft in the first half of 2017, she said.

The Pittsburgh metro area ranked 311, with 2,085 auto thefts in the first six months of 2017, the study said.

The NICB report highlights the importance of taking basic precautions to prevent auto theft.

“Many of the NICB’s recommendations ... are just common sense, but are not always followed, such as taking your keys, locking your doors, closing your windows and parking in a well-lit area whenever possible,” Altman said. “As obvious as these seem, more than 57,000 reported car thefts in 2015, over 8 percent of all reported thefts, happened to vehicles with the keys left in them.”

Altman said Pennsylvania law requires insurers to provide premium discounts for motor vehicles with passive anti-theft devices - any item or system installed in an automobile which is activated automatically when the operator turns the ignition key to the “off” position and which is designed to prevent unauthorized use.

The term does not include an ignition interlock provided as a standard anti-theft device by the original automobile manufacturer.