Statewide auto thefts increase, DMV reports


NEW YORK STATE (NEWS10) — The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Tuesday warned vehicle owners of a rise in thefts in New York City and across the state, reminding drivers of ways to protect their vehicles from being stolen.

The DMV reports that from January through June 2021, motorcycle thefts rose 63% in New York City when compared to the same time a year ago, and criminal complaints for grand larceny auto rose 25%. Statewide, vehicle thefts rose 54% from 2019 to 2020.

“Leaving your key fob in the vehicle or leaving it running while you run into your home or the store are two of the most common factors in vehicle thefts,” said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. “Don’t make your car an easy target. I urge you to be cautious and always make sure your vehicle is locked and not left running, even for a minute, and never leave your vehicle title or valuables in the car.”

According to the NYPD, there were 4,473 stolen vehicle complaints in the five boroughs from January through June compared to 3,580 complaints during the same period in 2020. There were also 985 motorcycle thefts during that time compared to 604 thefts in 2020. However, it is not only vehicles and motorcycles being stolen. Auto parts are also being taken at an alarming rate. There was a reported 572% rise in catalytic converter thefts in New York City from 32 stolen in 2020 to 215 stolen this year. 

Statewide, the DMV reports that motor vehicle thefts rose 54% from 12,702 in 2019 to 19,573 in 2020.

The DMV says vehicle theft rates are highest in the summer season, and July has been designated national Vehicle Theft Prevention Month.

To reduce the risk of vehicle theft:

  • Do not leave your vehicle title in the car
  • Keep your vehicle locked
  • When parked, never leave your keys in the car
  • Never leave your car running and unattended
  • Avoid leaving valuables inside your vehicle where passersby can see them

The DMV provides a list of resources available online to help consumers if they become a victim of theft. You can check them out below:

  • Consumers can learn more about what to do if a vehicle is stolen on the DMV website.
  • DMV also offers guidance on what to do if your license plates are stolen, whether they are taken with the car or stolen off the car, on our “Lost, Stolen or Destroyed Plates” page.
  • Before you purchase a vehicle, you can check whether it is stolen by going to the National Insurance Crime Bureau page and entering the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
  • Vehicle owners should also take steps to avoid an insurance lapses on stolen vehicles. New Yorkers can visit our “Insurance Lapses on Stolen Vehicles” page to learn how to protect themselves.

For more information about DMV, head to their website, or follow the DMV online at Facebook and Twitter.

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