At least 745,000 cars have been stolen in 2022, according to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a 24% increase compared to the same time period in 2019.
The data, published in early November, suggested that the total number of vehicles stolen could exceed 1 million before the end of the year, surpassing prepandemic highs by more than 100,000 stolen vehicles.
"The year may be coming to an end, but criminals are not going on winter break," said David Glawe, President and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. "Even as temperatures drop, vehicle owners everywhere need to know that the criminals are still on the hunt."
The report comes as staffing levels at American police departments have not rebounded from a wave of resignations that started during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 unrest.
In Pierce County, Washington, car thefts are up 96% amid police department short-staffing and a law prohibiting officers from chasing car theft suspects.
Car thefts in Denver, Colorado, have skyrocketed by 71% for the year, compared to the city’s three-year average, according to data from the Denver Police Department.
Vehicle thefts have also soared in Portland, Oregon, where the police say they are focused on other crimes.
The 1 million mark would be the highest in decades but still well below numbers set in the early 1990s when many cars were easy to steal without a key.
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