The first reported car theft occurred in France in 1896, when Baron de Zuylen’s Peugeot was stolen by his mechanic. Since then, as automobiles have become an integral part of society, theft has become all too common. It has even become a part of pop culture by being featured in films like Gone in 60 Seconds.
Though measures have been taken by governments across the country to try to limit auto theft, it does happen. And right now, in multiple regions across the United States, numbers seem to be on the rise.
In New Haven, CT, authorities recently discovered and arrested three men responsible for a staggering 44 thefts. The way Sgt. David Tammaro explained how they were found almost sounds like it was out of a movie.
“Information was developed that there was this group of individuals calling themselves the Get Money Boyz and they were bragging about how they would take these cars and that’s what led to this group and this arrest,” he said.
In that case, the thieves were tearing cars apart and selling individual pieces online to turn them into profit. Evidently, they had a “modern day chop shop” where several parts were found when a warrant was executed.
On the opposite side of the country, in Tri-Cities, WA, car thefts have risen a whopping 50% in the last year. But the goal of the thieves also seems to be quite opposite of those in New Haven. Instead of taking cars to chop shops or selling them, joyriding seems to be the priority.
“These cars are just being driven and then not necessarily being stripped, not being damaged, not burned, not dumped in the river, just driven and left in parking lots,” Kennewick Police Department Sgt. Ken Lattin said.
Regardless, residents of the area are concerned.
“It’s just too much. Too much for a town this big,” said Hatti Longmeier, who has not been happy with her neighborhood in the two years she’s lived there.
“The biggest problem we have here is people who leave their cars running with their keys in the vehicle,” explains Phil Gonzales, Master Locksmith with Texas Safe & Secure. “Always take your car keys with you, and make sure that there are no valuables showing. If you leave laptops and cellphones on the seat, it entices criminals a lot more.”
Most likely, crimes like auto thefts will always fluctuate, and the number of thefts in both areas could drop significantly in the near future. But, for every car owner, security is most always a concern.