More and More Americans Are Abandoning Reason and Handing Their Car to Thieves

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
more and more americans are abandoning reason and handing their car to thieves

In terms of the most basic adult behaviors, not leaving your keys in the car falls right behind feeding yourself without help and going to the bathroom like a big boy. It’s an uncomplicated concept that can be easily adhered to by anyone who has access to hands.

Despite this, one out of every eight vehicles stolen in the U.S. had the keys left inside by a person that society somehow deemed fit to operate a motor vehicle. Common sense is on a steady decline — and it’s a boon for thieves.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau reported today that, last year, a vehicle was reported stolen once every 45 seconds in the United States. And every six-and-a-half minutes a stolen vehicle’s owner left their keys or fob inside.

That’s a 31-percent increase over the past three years, though the NICB suggests this figure is artificially low because many claimants are too embarrassed to admit they exist in a mental vacuum so perfect they cannot even remember to bring their car keys with them.

Out of the 147,434 people who fell victim to giving criminals complete unadulterated access to their vehicles between 2013 and 2015, California was the big winner with 22,580. However, the NICB says the top core-based statistical areas were actually in and around Las Vegas, Detroit, and Atlanta.

While keyless entry seems like a likely culprit for the uptick in forgetfulness, the NICB’s own statistics show that many of the stolen vehicles pre-date routine implementation of modern remote systems. It really does seem like people are just becoming less clever or more lazy. And the NICB tends to agree, as its own website urges drivers to never leave a car unlocked and running while “stopping for a quick cup of coffee.”

As current anti-theft technology still revolves on a thief not having access to your keys, there isn’t much you can do to avoid this new scourge of car crime if you’ve decided you absolutely must leave keys in the vehicle.

“Anti-theft technology has had a tremendous impact on reducing thefts over the past 25 years, but if you don’t lock it up, it’s not going to help,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle in a statement.

“Complacency can lead to a huge financial loss and inconvenience for the vehicle owner. Leaving a vehicle unlocked or with the key or fob inside gives a thief the opportunity to take not only the car, but also any possessions inside. It can also provide access to your personal information if the registration is left in the glove compartment,” Wehrle continued.

“We have reports from our law enforcement partners that car thieves have stolen the car, driven it to the residence and burglarized the home before the owner even knew the vehicle was missing.”

While most insurance providers are likely to cover even the most stupidity sponsored acts of theft, you can expect a lengthy investigation and a lot of extra questions about why you left your vehicle unsecured. Don’t worry, the questions won’t be about if you’re some kind of buck-toothed moron. They’ll likely just be trying to establish whether or not you are trying to commit fraud.

[Image: James086/ WikimediaCommons ( CC BY-SA 4.0)]

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  • Quasimondo Quasimondo on Nov 03, 2016

    This is how my sister's car was stolen. We also suspect that after they took her car, they copied the keys because it was stolen and found abandoned three more times within a two month period.

    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Nov 06, 2016

      Does insurance pay to have a recovered car's locks re-keyed if the insured wishes?

  • Macintoshguy Macintoshguy on Nov 04, 2016

    My car is a 2015 but it's an FCA product, and a manual transmission....I leave the keys in it all the time and it's usually running, I'm hoping some steals it, but no one bothers...

    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Nov 06, 2016

      If it's got the monostatic transmission selector, it may run the thief down, thus doing the gene pool a favor!

  • Alan The Prado shouldn't have the Landcruiser name attached. It isn't a Landcruiser as much as a Tacoma or 4 Runner or a FJ Cruiser. Toyota have used the Landcruiser name as a marketing exercise for years. In Australia the RAV4 even had Landcruiser attached years ago! The Toyota Landcruiser is the Landcruiser, not a tarted up Tacoma wagon.Here a GX Prado cost about $61k before on roads, this is about $41k USD. This is a 2.8 diesel 4x4 with all the off road tricky stuff, plus AC, power windows, etc. I'm wondering if Toyota will perform the Nissan Armada treatment on it and debase the Prado. The Patrol here is actually as capable and possibly more capable than the Landcruiser off road (according to some reviews). The Armada was 'muricanised and the off road ability was reduced a lot. Who ever heard of a 2 wheel drive Patrol.Does the US need the Prado? Why not. Another option to choose from built by Toyota that is overpriced and uses old tech.My sister had a Prado Grande, I didn't think much of it. It was narrow inside and not that comfortable. Her Grand Cherokee was more comfortable and now her Toureg is even more comfortable, but you can still feel the road in the seat of your pants and ears.
  • Jeffrey No tis vehicle doen't need to come to America. The market if flooded in this segment what we need are fun affordable vehicles.
  • Nrd515 I don't really see the point of annual inspections, especially when the car is under 3 years (warranty) old. Inspections should be safety related, ONLY, none of the nonsensical CA ARB rules that end up being something like, "Your air intake doesn't have an ARB sticker on it, so you have to remove it and buy one just like it that does have the ARB sticker on it!". If the car or whatever isn't puking smoke out of it, and it doesn't make your eyes water, like an old Chevy Bel-Air I was behind on Wed did, it's fine. I was stuck in traffic behind that old car, and wow, the gasoline smell was super potent. It was in nice shape, but man, it was choking me. I was amused by the 80 something old guy driving it, he even had a hat with a feather in it, THE sign of someone you don't want to be driving anywhere near you.
  • Lou_BC "15mpg EPA" The 2023 ZR2 Colorado is supposed to be 16 mpg
  • ToolGuy "The more aerodynamic, organic shape of the Mark VIII meant ride height was slightly lower than before at 53.6 inches, over 54.2” for the Mark VII."• I am not sure that ride height means what you think it means.Elaboration: There is some possible disagreement about what "ride height" refers to. Some say ground clearance, some say H point (without calling it that), some say something else. But none of those people would use a number of over 4 feet for a stock Mark anything.Then you go on to use it correctly ("A notable advancement in the Mark VIII’s suspension was programming to lower the ride height slightly at high speeds, which assisted fuel economy via improved aerodynamics.") so what do I know. Plus, I ended a sentence with a preposition. 🙂