Clark and Harris, 1992; NICB Study, 1993; and Krauss, 1994).

Clark and Harris, 1992; NICB Study, 1993; and Krauss, 1994).

Finally, to make matters more complex, the desirability of particular vehicles on the black market varies around the country. For example, thieves concentrated on Japanese models in Los Angeles, pickup trucks in Dallas, and American sedans in Chicago, reflecting the preferences of consumers in those metropolitan areas (Sparkman, 2003). The insurance industry generates detailed lists annually of the most frequently targeted cars that are tailored for every state and even each large city so that companies can maximize their profits by fine-tuning premiums to reflect payouts to their local customers for theft losses.

Differential risks are determined by a number of factors besides the attractiveness of the target in the stolen car market. Another set of determinants of risk must be the number of professional thieves and chop shops operating in a given area, as well as the effectiveness of the efforts by local police departments to put them out of business.

As for geography, where a vehicle is parked is a key variable. Owners in the South and West suf- fered substantially higher theft rates than in the North and Midwest. Residents of urban areas reported their cars stolen more often than suburba- nites and people living in rural areas. The significance of the geographic factor is illustrated in Table 4.6, which demonstrates how important the location where the car is parked is when it comes to vehicle theft. This listing of vehicle theft rates for many of the nation’s metropolitan areas is based on data from police reports collected by the FBI and analyzed by the NICB (Toups, 2014; and Scafidi, 2014a).

From a motorist’s point of view, this ranking indicates that the meanest streets to park a car are in California’s metropolitan areas. In general, drivers in Western states have the most to worry about in terms of their vehicles vanishing. Those who find parking spaces in downtown areas of a metropolitan area usu- ally have even more to fear than those who park in that city’s nearby suburbs. Some cities that have a reputation for being safe in terms of violence, such as San Jose and San Diego, are not so safe for parked cars; conversely, some places like New Orleans and


Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part. WCN 02-200-203

St. Louis that are known to be dangerous in terms of being murdered are not so risky when it comes to leaving vehicles unattended (refer back to Figure 4.1). Drivers who walk away from their cars in the university towns of Madison, Wisconsin; Bingham- ton, New York; and State College, Pennsylvania, can rest assured (statistically speaking) that their vehicles will still be there when they return.

Combining the findings displayed in Tables 4.7 and 4.8, it can be concluded that motorists who drive vehicles that are on thieves’ hottest cars list and who park them on the meanest streets of cer- tain hot spot metropolitan areas face unusually high odds of discovering that their prized possession has disappeared.

Besides vehicle attractiveness and geographic location, two other factors surely influence the vulnerability of a parked car: the effectiveness of factory-installed and after-market add-on antitheft devices, and the immediate microenvironment— such as traffic patterns, the presence or absence of pedestrians, and the intensity of lighting at night in the vicinity of the street, driveway, or lot where the vehicle sits unguarded. These two factors are under the control of individuals to some degree, except that many motorists cannot afford secure but expensive parking arrangements and costly antitheft hardware.

Once again, various categories of people face either higher or lower levels of danger from criminals. In terms of differential risks, those who

T A B L E 4.6 Vehicle Theft Rates in U.S. Metropolitan Areas, 2013

Metropolitan Area Rank

Vehicle Theft Rates per 100,000 Residents Metropolitan Area Rank

Vehicle Theft Rates per 100,000 Residents

Bakersfield, CA 1 725 Las Vegas, NV 27 395 Fresno, CA 2 710 Omaha, NE 28 390 Modesto, CA 3 680 Los Angeles/Long Beach, CA 29 385 San Francisco/Oakland, CA 4 650 Little Rock, AK 30 385 Stockton, CA 5 635 Houston, TX 35 365 Redding, CA 6 625 Atlanta, GA 48 315 Spokane, WA 7 600 Denver–Mesa, CO 50 310 Vallejo/Fairfield, CA 8 600 New Orleans, LA 51 305 San Jose/Santa Clara, CA 9 570 Cleveland, OH 52 300 Yuba City, CA 10 550 Portland, OR 54 300 Riverside/San Bernardino, CA 11 525 Milwaukee, WI 59 295 Odessa, TX 12 510 Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL 65 280 Seattle/Tacoma, WA 13 500 Tucson, AZ 68 275 Merced, CA 14 495 Honolulu, HI 69 275 Visalia/Porterville, CA 15 490 Dallas-Fort Worth, TX 70 270 Salinas, CA 16 490 Chicago, IL, 82 255 Salt Lake City, UT 17 470 St. Louis, MO 93 235 Chico, CA 18 470 Minneapolis, MN–St. Paul, WI 131 185 Yakima, WA 19 465 Philadelphia, PA 138 180 Albuquerque, NM 20 445 Boston–Cambridge, MA 235 125 Grants Pass, OR 21 440 New York City, NY–Newark, NJ 242 120 Oklahoma City, OK 22 440 Pittsburgh, PA 310 80 Detroit/Dearborn, MI 23 430 Madison, WI 320 75 Sacramento, CA 24 410 Binghamton, NY 365 45 Wichita, KS 25 405 State College, PA 379 25 San Diego, CA 26 400

NOTES: The boundaries of metropolitan statistical areas are defined by the U.S. Census and often include nearby counties and suburban towns. Rankings were calculated by the NICB based on UCR rates. Rates are rounded to the nearest 5.

SOURCE: NICB, 2014b.

120 CH APT ER 4

Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part. WCN 02-200-203

faced the greatest odds of losing their cars were apartment dwellers, residents of inner-city neighbor- hoods, African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans, low-income families, and households headed by people under the age of 25. Those whose cars were least likely to be stolen were residents of rural areas, homeowners, and people over age 55, accord- ing to an analysis of a database of more than 12 million attempted and completed vehicle thefts dis- closed to NCVS interviewers between 1973 and 1985 (Harlow, 1988).

Decades later, the pattern was similar. Motorists in big cities with a population of a million or more lost their cars to thieves at a rate of 10 per 1,000 households per year. In rural areas, the theft rate was only 3 per 1,000. White families living in the suburbs experienced a vehicle theft rate of 2, while black families living in cities suffered much more, nearly 9 thefts per 1,000 households. Cars owned by people between 20 and 34 years old disappeared at a rate of 9 per 1,000 households, compared to just 2 for motorists over 65, according to the BJS’s Victimization Analysis Tool of NCVS 2013 data.

It seems that drivers’ decisions about where to reside, spending priorities, and parking habits—in other words, their attitudes and behaviors— determine, to some degree, the fate of their vehicles.

Place Your Order Here!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *