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Thursday, July 21, 2006


Joe Morrissey | joseph.morrissey@dmv.ny.gov | (518) 473-7000
Janine Kava | janine.kava@dcjs.ny.gov | (518) 457-8828


DMV and DCJS Mark Vehicle Theft Prevention Month in July

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) today announced that four New York metro areas were recently ranked among the lowest vehicle theft areas in the U.S. The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) annual “Hot Spots” report found that in 2015, Ithaca, Glens Falls, Watertown-Fort Drum, and Kingston all had theft rates of fewer than 33 thefts per 100,000 residents, making them some of the safest areas in the nation in terms of car thefts. The announcement came as traffic safety and crime prevention partners across the nation marked Vehicle Theft Prevention Month in July, when more cars are stolen than any other month.

“Experts say that owner error contributes to as much as half of all vehicle thefts, and we want to make sure we are doing our part to keep vehicle theft on the radar of all of our customers so unfortunate situations do not happen to them or their loved ones,” said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan. “While such thefts spike in the summer months, it is important to remain vigilant year-round. I urge all New Yorkers to take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk that their vehicle will be a target of car thieves.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual “Crime in the United States” report from 2014, the most recent full report available, indicates that New York has one of the lowest rates in the nation of motor vehicle theft per 100,000 people. While approximately 15,700 vehicles were stolen in New York State that same year, the number has been steadily declining in recent years.

New York State works proactively to decrease incidences of motor vehicle theft. The state's Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention program is overseen by a 12-member board that shapes the state’s approach for combating motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud. The program provides funding to public safety agencies serving urban communities with high rates of fraud and theft, so they can develop strategies to combat such crime. DCJS collaborates with the board and administers the grants, which have been awarded annually since 1997. In December, Governor Cuomo announced more than $3.7 million in grant funding for two dozen public safety agencies across the state to fight motor vehicle theft and insurance fraud.

“This program coupled with the diligent work of our law enforcement partners across the state has helped reduce incidences of motor vehicle thefts to historic lows in New York,” said Michael C. Green, Executive Deputy Commissioner of DCJS. “Reported thefts have dropped more than 80 percent since 1997, a fact that stands testament to our continued commitment toward keeping New York among the safest states in the nation.”

DMV investigators also work year-round to combat motor vehicle theft. In New York State, every vehicle deemed totaled by an insurance company must be physically examined by a DMV investigator before it is allowed back on the road. The examination verifies that it is the correct vehicle and legitimate parts were used to repair the vehicle. Last year, motor vehicle investigators recovered approximately $3.6 million in stolen vehicles and parts from this program. DMV also issues special title branding for these vehicles to ensure consumers are aware of what they are buying.

NICB’s “Hot Spots” report examines vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center for the nation’s 380 metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs. MSAs are designated by the Office of Management and Budget and often include areas much larger than the cities for which they are named. The following data regarding areas from New York is pulled from the 2015 NICB “Hot Spots” report, and indicates the rank, MSA name, number of thefts, and theft rate per 100,000 residents.

2015 Rank MSA Name 2015 Thefts 2015 Rate
222 Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area 1,554 136.89
264 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area 22,391 110.94
293 Rochester, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area 1,003 92.70
306 Syracuse, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area 547 82.82
325 Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area 641 72.69
360 Utica-Rome, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area 124 41.95
363 Elmira, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area 35 40.20
365 Binghamton, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area 94 38.21
372 Kingston, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area 59 32.75
373 Watertown-Fort Drum, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area 38 32.30
374 Glens Falls, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area 39 30.73
377 Ithaca, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area 26 24.78

The NICB reports that older vehicles are stolen primarily for their parts value while newer, high-end vehicles are often shipped overseas or sold to an innocent buyer locally.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers the following tips for protecting against vehicle theft:

  • Never leave your keys in your vehicle. NICB says that the number of thefts of vehicles with the keys left inside are on the rise.
  • Close the windows and lock the doors.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Never leave valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen.
  • Never leave the area while your vehicle is running.
  • Protect your vehicle with devices that deter theft.

If your vehicle is stolen, report it to the police and your auto insurance company as soon as possible. The police will enter the information into national and state auto theft computer records. The theft will be noted on your vehicle title record to help prevent someone from selling the vehicle or applying for a title.

For more information about DMV, click here.