According to the latest National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) Hot Spots Report, auto thefts increased from 34,172 vehicles in 2019 to 37,465 in 2020, the report found. NICB said, “The auto theft rate, which measures the number of vehicles stolen per 100,000 residents, also increased in Washington in 2020, from 331.06 to 368.46 – the nation’s 8th highest theft rate.”
According to the article, the annual report showed an increase in auto thefts across the entire country. NICB said that vehicle theft is fairly widespread, and the crime increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the U.S., a car is stolen every 36 seconds. That makes it the most common property crime, according to the FBI, costing citizens about $6 billion in 2019.
The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) says that property crime is the most common type of crime reported in the state, representing 73.7% of all reported offenses.
Some easy ways to prevent someone from stealing your vehicle in addition to locking your car include parking in a well-lit area, getting an audible alarm, using a smart key and getting a GPS tracker in your car.
According to the article, Vehicle Theft wasn’t the only crime Washington saw go up in 2020. Murder increased 50% and property crimes increased by 13.8%, according to a crime report by the WASPC. Washington, D.C. took the top spot for worst vehicle theft rate with near 563 thefts per 100,000 residents, an increase of 40% from 2019 to 2020. The nation’s capital was followed by Colorado, California, Missouri and New Mexico.
Vehicle Theft crimes are serious. Penalties will depend on the nature of the theft. It could range from a lesser crime, or misdemeanor, to a felony. Felonies have varying degrees of seriousness, with accordingly varying degrees of punishment. Felonies are generally punished by incarceration, and so may be more serious misdemeanors. Fines are likely also involved for someone convicted of vehicle theft.
The amount of both the fine and jail time are based on a number of factors, including:
- How much the car was worth;
- Whether someone occupied the vehicle at the time of the theft;
- Whether the thief used a weapon in committing the crime;
- Whether anyone was hurt during the act of the theft of vehicle; and
- Whether the accused thief has been convicted of previous crimes.