Car Thefts on Decline

By Max Resnik

July 16, 2011 Updated Jul 16, 2011 at 6:41 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Car theft statistics in Fort Wayne from 2010 show a steady decline when compared to the statistics of 2009. As of 2010, Fort Wayne ranked 257 in the county as a city where a car would likely be stolen according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

In 2009, Fort Wayne ranked 237. There was also a sharp decrease in the number of cars stolen from 2009 to 2010. In 2009, 594 vehicles in the Fort Wayne area were stolen. In 2010, that number fell to 483 vehicles.

Dave Brady, a salesman with Glenbrook Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, says one of the major improvements to the anti-theft systems in cars is the increasing popularity of the key fob. The fob allows a car owner to lock, unlock and remote start a car. Many also come with panic buttons to set off car alarms and some can even open trunks. Perhaps the most popular feature of the fob, according to Brady, is the fact that a car cannot move without the fob inside the car. Whether sitting in the ignition, cup holder or the driver’s pocket, the car will only move with the fob inside of it.

“You can smash the window, you can climb inside and get behind the driver's seat. You're not going to be able to hot wire the car. You're not going to get the car started, and you're not going to be able to drive away without that key fob physically being with you.”

For example, a driver starts his or her car from his or her office to get the engine warm before leaving for the day. A thief sees the car running idly with no one inside. The thief attempts to steal the car. The thief can try to pull out of the parking spot but without the fob, the car will simply shutoff, averting the theft.

Officer Michael Joyner with the Fort Wayne Police Department recalls a time when police were handed a printed description of a stolen vehicle including make, model, color and the number of doors on the vehicle. Today, he says technology has come a long way in his 17 years on the force.

“Before, we would get printed information stating that this Ford Taurus was active stolen. This was the plate number. This was the color, it’s four doors and that’s really all we used to our advantage. Now, we have the GPS technology. Now, we have the license scanning equipment.”

For drivers that do not have alarms or anti-theft systems, the NICB advises parking under well-lit areas, keeping doors locked, windows closed and always removing keys from the ignition.

The NICB says car theft rates have decreased each of the last seven years.

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