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National Insurance Crime Bureau Warns Public About Holiday Season Auto Thefts

According to an article released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the Holiday Season brings an increased criminal threat to include violent crime and auto thefts, during a time where law enforcement resources are already worn thin.

NICB states, “The nation is witnessing historically high auto theft, violent crime and carjackings. 2020 saw the most vehicle thefts in more than a decade. Beginning in June 2020, the United States experienced a 13% increase in auto thefts, with 41 states seeing an increase over the previous year, a trend that has continued throughout 2021. More alarmingly, many major metropolitan areas saw dramatic increases in carjackings. Unlike auto theft, a carjacking involves violent confrontation with an offender who threatens the victim with bodily injury with a weapon or through physical force. In 2020, Chicago carjackings were up a staggering 134%, with 1,416 people being forcibly removed from their vehicle. This trend has continued in 2021, with Chicago seeing a 44% increase, Washington, D.C. up 45%, and New York an 81% increase.”

Shoppers are encouraged to remain vigilant, alert, and aware. NICB noted that, “Criminals are searching for unlocked vehicles to take personal belongings and shopping goods, or to steal the car itself. Most holiday shoppers encounter a number of distractions, from heavy traffic to crowded stores, making auto theft and carjacking more probable. Vehicle owners must be aware of their surroundings and safeguard their vehicles to reduce the possibility of being a victim.”

As insurance industry professionals, we too anticipate seeing the impact firsthand with an influx of related claims.

The NICB offers the following tips to help holiday shoppers protect themselves (and ourselves!):

  • “Roll up your windows, lock your doors, and take the keys or fob with you.”

  • “Park in well-lit areas and, when possible, with security personnel and camera surveillance.”

  • “Keep shopping bags, cell phones, purses, and other personal property out of sight.”

  • “Do not be distracted—have your keys ready to enter your car and be aware of your surroundings.”

  • “Consider an immobilizing or tracking device for your vehicle.”

  • “If confronted by a suspect, remain calm and cooperate. Be a good witness and call 911 when you are able to do so.”

  • “If your vehicle is stolen, report the theft to the police and contact your insurance company or agent as soon as possible.”

Safe and happy shopping wishes from ICU!

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