National Insurance Crime Bureau

NICB Supports Amendment That Will Close a Loophole for Car Thieves in Oregon

Oregon thefts up more than 53 percent in six years

DES PLAINES, Ill., Feb. 14, 2019 — The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has joined a number of law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and public officials in support of a bill to close a loophole that has limited police in Oregon from arresting and prosecuting suspected car thieves.

According to NICB’s Annual Hot Spots Report, between 2012 and 2017, vehicle thefts increased by more than 53 percent in Oregon. That compares to an overall national increase of less than 11 percent based on data from the FBI’s National Crime Information Center.

The sharp increase in Oregon’s vehicle thefts began following two notable Court of Appeals’ cases that, based on their interpretation of existing state statute, raised the bar to an extremely difficult standard necessary to secure a conviction against an alleged car thief.

HB 2328 will close the loopholes in the law to ensure Oregon is not a haven for car thieves. The bill modifies language dealing with the “culpable mental state for crime of unauthorized use of a vehicle when person takes, operates, exercises control over or otherwise uses vehicle, boat or aircraft without consent of owner.” Currently, suspects can claim they were not “knowingly” operating a vehicle without the owners’ consent and avoid charges.

“Sometimes criminals are able to take advantage of the law and that’s what has been happening in Oregon,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “This bill will eliminate the loophole that has limited law enforcement’s efforts to fight vehicle theft, and will put thieves back on notice that they can no longer steal a car and walk away from justice.”
 
Vehicle theft is not a benign crime. Vehicles are often stolen under violent conditions, and increasingly criminal rings are turning to stolen cars to make big money and to commit other crimes. Vehicle theft causes financial hardship, impedes access to work, and can lead to higher insurance premiums for all Oregonians.

Media Contact

If you have a question, want further information on the NICB, or to discuss insurance fraud or vehicle crime, please contact:

Frank Scafidi
Director of Public Affairs
916.207.0154
fscafidi@nicb.org

Brooke Kelley
Vice President of Communications
847.544.7085
bkelley@nicb.org

Or, if you are a reporter and have a request or question, please complete the Media Request Form.

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form on our website.

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, learning and development, government affairs and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,300 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $496 billion in insurance premiums in 2018, or more than 81% of the nation's property-casualty insurance. That includes more than 92% ($254 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.