NYC Auto Thefts Reach 16-year High, Mirroring Nationwide Trend., Rebecca Redelmeier, December 25, 2022

In a year when many types of crime have risen in New York City, none has spiked more than car theft.

As of Dec. 18, over 13,000 cars had been stolen in the city this year. That's a 32% jump compared to 2021 and it's more than any year since 2006, according to NYPD complaint data.

“Auto thefts are a major concern for New Yorkers, especially in car-reliant areas and transportation deserts like the outer boroughs,” said Council Member Kamillah Hanks of Staten Island, who chairs the council’s public safety committee. Profitable car parts, insurance fraud, and joy riding all contribute to the rise in thefts, she added.

The NYPD’s data mimics a nationwide trend that shows vehicle thefts are at their highest levels since 2008, according to a November analysis by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, or NICB. The value of used cars and parts have increased significantly this year, contributing to part of the rise, according to Danielle Napinski, an NICB spokesperson.
Across the five boroughs, the number of car thefts varies greatly depending on the neighborhood, NYPD data shows. This year, the 43rd Precinct, which covers the southeast Bronx, has seen the most thefts out of any precinct in the city, with more than 520 cars stolen as of Dec. 11. Some areas where car thefts used to be low have seen the rate of the crime more than double, such as on Staten Island and in the Rockaways.

Hot spots for car thefts also tend to be in neighborhoods with high rates of car ownership, and where thieves can easily access a highway for a getaway, according to Christopher Herrmann, a former NYPD crime analyst.

Herrmann said the rise in car thefts is also due, in part, to the key fob technology many motor vehicles manufacturers now use to lock cars and start their engines. Without a physical key, some car owners tend to leave their key fobs in their cars during a quick errand, he said, leaving thieves able to easily jump in a car and drive off with it. Continue article