Cities across the United States are seeing an increase in auto theft cases, including Rochester. Many sources are blaming the COVID 19 pandemic for the increase in auto theft. Car thieves are no different than home burglars, they are opportunists that are taking advantage of the situation. With more people working from home, more people are leaving their car doors unlocked in the driveway. About four out of five auto thefts happen because a car door is unlocked. One out of five thieves has it even easier because keys are left in the ignition.
A False Sense of Security May Be The Problem
Rochester residents may be feeling a little more secure than usual because many people are working from home. The normal routine has been greatly interrupted for many people because of COVID 19, and that includes checking to see if car doors are locked down, and in many cases, even checking if the front door is locked. There is this false sense of security that seems to be permeating communities because so many people are just not leaving home.
Unfortunately, those that are inclined to steal cars are having a field day in Rochester and other cities in the United States. According to the NICB, in 2020, 880,595 vehicles were stolen. That is an increase of about 15% over the previous year.
The surge in auto theft in Rochester does not seem to be limited by make, model, or even year. In other words, every vehicle has an equal opportunity of being stolen. The only thing the auto thefts seem to have in common is the ease with which they can be stolen.
It is Not Always Carelessness
While it is true that leaving your vehicle unlocked makes you a prime target, there is something else that is happening that is likely promoting auto theft in Rochester. Vehicles are being parked and not checked on for days and why would you have checked on your vehicle if you are not going anywhere?
Auto thieves are watching out for vehicles that are sitting in the same spot for too long and taking advantage of the fact that you may not even notice your car is missing for a couple of days. Thieves are breaking into cars and driving off with them because they know no one is paying attention.
There was a recent racecar theft that was a bit different from your normal smash and grab scenario. The crafty car thieves loaded the car up on a dolly and drove off with it. Who would think when the average race car weighs about 3400 pounds (Cobras weigh a lot less which is the type of car that was taken) that someone would think of lifting it onto a dolly and driving off? But, it happened. The vehicle sat on the road for a couple of days and by day three it was gone when the owner came to check it.
A Victimless Crime? Not Really
Auto theft is sometimes classified as a “victimless crime” because the owner with the right insurance policy can collect the value of the vehicle and go buy a new one. Other crimes like kidnapping, aggravated assault, murder, rape, and other violent felony crimes clearly have a victim, but when it comes to auto theft, the victim waters get a little muddy. Are you really a victim if your insurance company hands you a fat check and you can get out from under a loan? Yes, you are, but often auto theft is just not taken seriously.
This victimless crime causes insurance premiums to rise across the board. You do not have to be living in NYC to feel the pinch of the high cost of auto insurance because of the increase in auto theft. If you live in Rochester you are feeling the pain of the higher cost of insurance.
According to the experts, the best way to protect your vehicle during a post-pandemic world is to lock it up and check on it daily. Hopefully, when Rochester gets back to a normal life, the auto theft crime rate will plunge.