Car thefts drop in Chicago, nation

Are thieves giving up on stealing cars? Or are they finding other ways to get around technology?
Are thieves giving up on stealing cars? Or are they finding other ways to get around technology?

"It was gone. It was just gone," Wicker Park resident Allison Riggio said of her 2002 Cavalier. "My first reaction was, I must've parked it somewhere else. I scoured the neighborhood and then thought, 'This really stinks.'"

Riggio's experience is becoming more rare.

In 2000, 29,735 cars were reported stolen in Chicago. In 2013, the number was less than half that.

An average of 34 cars are reported stolen every day in the city, and police say they've busted some calculating car crooks.

"They found out a lot of vehicles were being towed off the street by disreputable tow truck drivers and brought to salvage yards and being destroyed," Chicago Police Deputy Chief David McNaughton said.

A decade ago, stealing a car was a lot easier. Thieves needed a screw driver to drive off. But newer models don't work that way.

Illinois State Police said some thieves now resort to carjackings or more sophisticated auto theft rings that use identity theft to fraudulently buy cars.

"The vehicles are so advances you can't just hotwire a car like in the days of old. You either have to have a key to start the vehicle or tow it away. So people are doing other crimes to gain control of the keys to be able to take over the car," Illinois State Police Inspector Charles Becket said.

Riggio said having her car stolen was, to some degree, a blessing in disguise.

"I had struggled with whether or not I even needed a car in the city and this was sort of a forced answer to that question. You don't! You can get by biking and walking," Riggio said.
Related Topics:
finance auto theft identity theft
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