Car Thefts Reach Record High in Chicago

After social media videos disseminated online showed how certain models of vehicles can be hotwired, reports of car thefts have skyrocketed in the Chicago area. Criminal experts say that the boom in car thefts is only partly related to the videos, and carjackings and similar crimes are also accounting for a spurt in car thefts. While data released relates to Chicago, the same can be said of major cities all across the U.S., with some putting the uptick as high as 20%. 

Security cameras caught the theft of high-end vehicles from a repair shop, a novel approach to stealing cars. The owner of the repair shop said they had six or seven guys jimmying the locks, which allowed them to overpower the locking devices and break into the repair shop.

Car Theft Statistics by State

California leads the country in the number of vehicles stolen, with over 200,000 reported car thefts. The pandemic saw a surge in the number of car thefts and other types of crime. During the pandemic, there was a 29% increase in the rate of stolen cars. However, the rate is higher in 2023 than it ever has been before, and now some are worried that it has become too easy for criminals to get away with stealing cars. 

Vermont leads the country with the fewest car thefts of any state. However, even Vermont has seen a 49% increase in car thefts over the past three years. In 2020, Vermont reported only 122 car thefts. By 2021, that number had increased to 182. 

Chicago reported a rate of stolen cars much larger than the national average. This comes amid a spike in the value of used cars. 

Car Theft Statistics by Car Make and Model

2004 Chevy full-sized pickups are the most likely vehicle to be stolen, according to reports. Older Hondas like the Civic and the Accord also top the list of most likely stolen vehicles. Next came the Toyota Camry and K.I.A., and Hyundai is also near the top of the list.

In the majority of cases, the cars are recovered. Seattle, for instance, sported a recovery rate of 86% of the stolen vehicles. Many car thieves use the vehicle for temporary transportation or devour the vehicle for parts. This leads to a high recovery rate, especially since newer vehicles can be tracked nowadays. The national average for recovering stolen vehicles is about 56%. 

The reasons for car thefts vary, but today, it is more likely that the thieves will steal parts from vehicles and then sell them to the highest bidder. Used car values are going up amid global shortages. Catalytic converters remain a popular item for thieves because they can be resold at a decent value. The rate of car thefts looks poised to increase heading into 2024.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

David Freidberg represents the interests of Chicago residents who have been charged with serious crimes. Call our office today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your defense immediately. 


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