NICB: New Year’s Had Highest Theft Numbers of Any 2012 Holiday

Cold car theftAnyone getting a new car alarm as a Christmas gift probably won’t have to install it that day.

But it’d be wise to do it before New Year’s.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) said that Dec. 25, 2012, had the “dual distinction” of having car theft numbers that were the lowest of not only 11 holidays analyzed for its new report but also of any day in 2012.

On the other hand, the report found that Jan. 1, 2012—New Year’s Day—had the highest number of thefts out of those 11 holidays.

There were 1,432 car thefts on Christmas 2012 nationwide, far below the year’s daily average of 2,066, according to the NICB report.

According to the NICB, the highest number of thefts of any day occurred on June 1, with 2,579 thefts.

Putting aside Christmas, Feb. 26, 2012, showed the lowest number of car thefts in a day out of all non-holidays, with 1,563 thefts.

The following table breaks down the number of 2012 thefts by holiday:

Date (2012) Holiday # of thefts
Jan. 1 New Year’s Day 2,228
Sept. 3 Labor Day 2,158
Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve 2,152
May 28 Memorial Day 2,078
Oct. 31 Halloween 2,053
Dec. 24 Christmas Eve 2,034
July 4 Independence Day 1,955
Feb. 20 Presidents Day 1,925
Nov. 22 Thanksgiving 1,656
Feb. 14 Valentine’s Day 1,654
Dec. 25 Christmas Day 1,432


In 2011, New Year’s Day was the holiday with the second-highest number of stolen vehicles, bested by just 42 thefts on Halloween, according to the bureau’s holiday report last year. And, just as in 2012, Christmas sported year-low theft numbers in 2011.

Frank Scafidi, NICB spokesman, told Online Auto Insurance News that the Monday report was the bureau’s last release to be published in 2013.

In its other reports on car theft figures this year, the NICB found that:

‘Common Sense’ Tips for Your Car during Holiday Shopping

According the NICB, car theft and burglary activity picks up during the “busy holiday shopping season,” so drivers should “take extra care” by parking in well-lit areas, locking the car and keeping post-shopping packages out of sight.

In an advisory released last week, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) offered consumers tips to avoid “parking lot claims” that jump in number during the holiday season.

Thefts of cars and items from cars in parking lots is one of the “few things [that dampen] the holiday spirit,” according to Bob Passmore, senior director of personal lines for PCI, which also advised consumers about comprehensive coverage, an optional type of protection that covers policyholders if their car is stolen.

“Thieves often use the hustle and bustle of the season as an opportunity to steal vehicles,” he said in a statement. “So be sure to lock your vehicle, engage your alarm system if you have one and keep shopping bags, cell phones, purses and other personal property out of sight. It’s always a good idea to protect yourself and be extra vigilant so you’re not a target.”

Help Eliminate Auto Thefts (H.E.A.T.) also recently issued an advisory. The Michigan-based anti-theft group said that one leading tip during the holidays is to never leave a car running. An unattended, running vehicle is vulnerable to “puffer” thefts that occur in the many cold regions of Michigan, which is currently in the throes of icy conditions that are similarly plaguing a number of states across the U.S.

H.E.A.T. also offered other tips in its advisory, issued Monday:

  • Be alert.
  • Park in well-lit, high-traffic areas.
  • Ask for help.
  • Place valuables and purchases in the trunk or out of sight.
  • Move your car.
  • Use common sense.
  • Unload passengers first when arriving home.
  • If threatened by a carjacker, give up the car.
  • Call police immediately if witnessing an auto theft, carjacking in progress or anything suspicious.

“December marks the busiest time of year for most consumers as they shop and cross items off their to-do lists, but don’t let that distract you from keeping your vehicle and possessions safe,” Terri Miller, executive director of H.E.A.T., said in a statement. “The holiday season is always a special time of year, but many consumers become careless and vulnerable to theft and holiday crime. It’s important to remain diligent and be aware of your surroundings.”

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for 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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