“You’ve got to lock your car, all the time, everywhere,” Kelly said.
Thieves aren’t going after new vehicles. The most popular vehicle to steal in Ohio in 2013 was a 1994 Chevrolet pick-up trucks (full size), second was the 2000 Dodge Caravan and third was a 1997 Ford pick-ups (full size).
Cars made prior to 1998 are a lot easier to steal than newer cars, said Frank Scafidi, spokesman for the NICB.
“Overall, across the nation, it’s a downward trend. Auto theft is now about half the problem it was several years ago. Technology has been a game-changer in keeping vehicles from being stolen,” Scafidi said.
Additions like OnStar and LoJack monitoring services can track a vehicle if a criminal decides to drive off with it, and apps like “Anti-Theft Car Alarm” will send you an email if your vehicle is moved and give you the vehicle’s location. Kill switches and car alarms are also helpful, Scafidi said.
“We’ve all seen the movies where the A-Team hot wires a car,” Kelly said. “You can’t really do that today. … Once they’re locked, they’re really locked.”
In Dayton, 1,650 vehicles were stolen last year, which works out to about 206 vehicles per 100,000 residents.
Cleveland had the most thefts per population in the state. By comparison, Columbus ranked fourth and Cincinnati was seventh.
The top six hot spots for auto thefts in the U.S. were all located in California, with No. 1 being the Bakersfield area, which had 725 vehicles stolen per 100,000 residents in 2013, according to the report.
NICB has been compiling the annual hot spot reports from National Crime Information Center data since 1984.