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Frank Scafidi

November 1, 2016


NICB: More Drivers Losing Their Cars By Leaving Their Keys
Thefts with keys up 31 percent since 2013
DES PLAINES, Ill. - Last year, a vehicle was reported stolen once every 45 seconds in the
United States. And one out of every eight thefts was a freebie for the thief. There was a theft
every six and one-half minutes where the driver left the keys or FOB inside.
It’s a growing problem according to the latest report from the National Insurance Crime
Bureau (NICB). The 57,096 thefts in 2015 amounted to a 22 percent increase over the
previous year. Over the past three years, this kind of theft grew by 31 percent.
Since many people do not admit to leaving their car unlocked with the keys or FOB inside,
the actual numbers of thefts with the keys left in vehicles may be considerably higher than
the report indicates.
“Anti-theft technology has had a tremendous impact on reducing thefts over the past 25
years, but if you don’t lock it up, it’s not going to help,” said NICB President and CEO Joe
Wehrle. “Complacency can lead to a huge financial loss and inconvenience for the vehicle
owner. Leaving a vehicle unlocked or with the key or FOB inside gives a thief the opportunity
to take not only the car, but also any possessions inside. It can also provide access to your
personal information if the registration is left in the glove compartment.
“We have reports from our law enforcement partners that car thieves have stolen the car,
driven it to the residence and burglarized the home before the owner even knew the vehicle
was missing.”
NICB advises drivers to:

Lock the vehicle, set the alarm and take all keys or FOBS.
Do not leave the garage door opener in the vehicle.
Take a picture of your registration on your cell phone and do not leave the registration
or other papers with personal information in the vehicle.
Never leave a car unlocked and running to warm it up or while stopping for a quick
cup of coffee. It only takes a moment for the opportunistic thief to jump inside and
drive off.

For the years 2013 through 2015, a total of 147,434 were reported stolen with the keys left in
the vehicle. In 2013, there were 43,643 thefts; 46,695 thefts in 2014 and 57,096 in 2015. From
2013 to 2015, the increase was 31 percent.
The top five states that posted the most vehicle thefts with keys during this reporting period
were California (22,580), Texas (11,003), Florida (9,952), Ohio (8,623) and Nevada (8,073). The
top five core-based statistical areas (CBSA) were Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV (7,815),
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI (4,380), Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA (4,118), Miami-Fort
Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL, (3,847) and Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DEMD (3,365).
One state—Hawaii—had a perfect record. Not a single report of a vehicle theft with keys.
Looking at day-of-week data, Saturday saw the most thefts with (22,081) followed by
Monday (21,851) and Friday (21,652).
The full report can be viewed and downloaded here. The full dataset is here. Download an
infographic here.

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or
vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling tollfree 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword
“fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our
website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your
iPhone or Android device.
About the National Insurance Crime Bureau:
Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the
nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively
dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating


insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data
analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy
and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more
than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies
and self-insured organizations. NICB member
companies wrote over $413 billion in insurance
premiums in 2015, or more than 79 percent of the
nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes
more than 94 percent ($187 billion) of the nation's
personal auto insurance. To learn more visit