FBI reports auto thefts, recovery rates down

A recently released FBI 2009 Crime Statistics report indicates the national vehicle theft rate is decreasing, but the rate of recovery for stolen vehicles is at an 25 year low.

Suzanne Ashe
Suzanne Ashe has been covering technology, gadgets, video games, and cars for several years. In addition to writing features and reviews for magazines and Web sites, she has contributed to daily newspapers.
Suzanne Ashe

Although the FBI reports that vehicle thefts are down, you are still unlikely to recover your stolen car if you don't have some sort of electronic recovery system.

According to the 2009 Crime Statistics report, out of the 794,616 vehicles stolen that year, only 343,274 vehicles (43.2 percent) were recovered. This is the lowest recovery rates have been reported in 25 years.

Stolen vehicles are notoriously used by thieves to commit other crimes, or taken to chop shops and stripped for parts. A number of vehicles each year are shipped out illegally overseas.

In a news release today, LoJack announced it has a 90 percent recovery rate of stolen vehicles that used some type of electronic recovery device.

"Today's increasingly sophisticated criminals know how to get around just about every anti-theft device, from smart keys to immobilizers, leaving vehicles highly vulnerable to theft," said D.J. Thompson, director of law enforcement for LoJack and a former officer with the Connecticut State Police. "That's why we continue to recommend a layered approach to theft protection, so that consumers can do what it takes to keep their vehicles safe."

LoJack last year launched its second-generation Stolen Vehicle Recovery System. The LoJack system uses a radio frequency transceiver hidden inside the car. Each transceiver has a unique that is tied to the vehicle's identification number.