Auto Service World
News   October 8, 2002   by Auto Service World

Theft of Older Vehicles On the Rise Says Insurance Study

Thieves are more likely to target older vehicles than newer models, according to a new study released today by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).
In fact, vehicles aged eight years and older have become Canada’s most frequently stolen vehicles. “Auto theft is a serious problem that seems to be growing in this country,” says Rick Dubin, vice president of investigations for IBC. “The study results are extremely important because they demonstrate that no one is exempt from becoming a victim of auto theft – including owners of older model cars who may not realize their vehicles are being targeted by thieves.”
The objective of the IBC study – Theft Trends by Vehicle Age – was to determine whether recent data collected was actually the result of a developing trend or an abnormality.
Initially, the data seemed to indicate that older vehicles had become the targets of theft claims to a greater degree than newer vehicles.
IBC researchers examined all auto theft claims reported by insurance companies from across the country from 1993 to 2000. The average age of vehicles involved in the theft claims was used as a factor to analyze whether a greater number of either older or newer vehicles were being stolen over the time period.
Whether the theft patterns were out of proportion with the vehicle population as a whole was not addressed in the information released.
The study includes the following major findings:
– a greater number of auto theft claims originate from owners of older vehicles
– age of vehicles involved in theft claims has been on the rise since 1993
– theft of new cars has declined 50% since 1993
– immobilizers (theft deterrent systems) seem to be making an dent in the theft of newer vehicles
– most of the increase in auto theft insurance costs can be attributed to the owners of older vehicles
According to Rick Dubin, IBC has worked closely with auto manufacturers over the past several years to encourage the installation of anti-theft devices as standard equipment for new vehicles.
“While this initiative has allowed society to become increasingly proficient at preventing the theft of new vehicles, we need to address the increase in the number of older vehicles being stolen.” Dubin suggests Canadian consumers have a role to play in making it more difficult for thieves to steal cars and profit from the crime. “The first step in that process is becoming more aware of how we can protect our vehicles: increased vigilance, installation of approved auto theft deterrent systems, and marking vehicle parts to make it more difficult for thieves to sell the parts to chop shops.”

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