NICB: High-End Car Thieves Favor Mercedes-Benz Models

If Lloyd Banks were to use his 2010 rap song to pose a question—Beamer, Benz or Bentley—high-end car thieves would answer: the Benz.

A recent analysis by National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) of thousands of luxury car thefts found as much, with three Mercedes-Benz models ranked among the top 10 most stolen luxury vehicles in recent years.

The report analyzed theft reports from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and focused on model years between 2010 and 2012 of luxury cars, finding that more than 4,300 of them were reported stolen between 2009 and 2012.

The most-stolen luxury vehicles were:
–Mercedes-Benz C Class: 485 thefts
– BMW 3 Series: 471 thefts
–Infiniti G Series: 405 thefts
–Mercedes-Benz E Class: 381 thefts
–Cadillac CTS: 326 thefts
–BMW 5 Series: 256 thefts
–Lincoln MKZ: 226 thefts
–Acura TSX: 190 thefts
–Lexus IS: 177 thefts
–Mercedes-Benz S Class: 163 thefts

Crime Rings Export High-End Vehicles

Almost 1 out of every 4 of luxury vehicles were stolen in California, according to the report.

More than 4 out of every 5 stolen luxury cars in the U.S. were in one of the following states:
–California: 24 percent
–Florida: 15 percent
–New Jersey: 10 percent
–New York: 9 percent
–Michigan: 5 percent
–Texas: 5 percent
–Georgia: 3 percent
–Illinois: 3 percent
–Pennsylvania: 2 percent
–Maryland: 2 percent

Frank Scafidi, a spokesman for the bureau, said that organized crime rings likely try to ease the export of stolen luxury vehicles by centering their activity in states with major ports.

“These kinds of cars attract a very high premium on the illicit market in foreign countries,” he told Online Auto Insurance News (OAIN).

Agents from the NICB recently teamed with other law enforcement agencies to break a case involving stolen luxury vehicles that were to be shipped to Asia from the Port of Los Angeles.

Scafidi said the bureau has seen similar cases at ports on the East Coast.

When the NICB remapped theft figures with a more regional look at core-based statistical areas (CBSAs), New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island topped other CBSAs.

The localized ranking shows that the affluent areas of the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island region likely have a greater number of pricey luxury cars compared to other regions in the U.S., according to Scafidi.

The CBSA with the second-highest theft figure was Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana.

Luxury Cars Recovered at Higher Rate than Other Stolen Cars

New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island also showed the highest number of unrecovered vehicles of all CBSAs.

Less than 1 out of every 5 stolen luxury vehicles stayed unrecovered by the end of March this year, according to the report.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than half of all stolen vehicles are eventually recovered, showing that the recovery rate is far better for luxury cars compared to cars overall.

That was true even when looking at the Mercedes Benz S Class. The premium luxury model showed the worst recovery rate of all high-end vehicles, with more than 40 percent of stolen cars staying unrecovered.

Scafidi told OAIN that the better recovery rates among luxury vehicles is likely “a function of the kinds of tracking and vehicle monitoring systems that auto manufacturers are building into their products today.”

“Typically, high-end cars come with an array of security features and those not only make the thefts much more difficult, they also aid in the vehicle’s quick recovery if stolen,” he said.

Motorists can also turn to insurance carriers like GEICO for tips on theft prevention and how best to handle theft claims. Car insurers often offer discounts on coverage if a vehicle has antitheft devices.

Scafidi said that the NICB has no theft prevention advice geared specifically to luxury car owners—except the obvious.

High-end cars usually come with high-end security features, according to Scafidi, but tools like vehicle tracking, remote entry and antitheft locks are only useful when used.

“At the end of the day, if you have all the features in your car to keep it secure but you don’t enable or use them as they are intended to be used, then you are in greater jeopardy of losing it,” he told OAIN.

(Photo courtesy of autoviva.com)

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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