Number of Michigan Auto Thefts Down 50 Percent since 2000

Michigan auto theftsCar thefts in Michigan declined by more than 9 percent between 2009 and 2010, according to data recently released by the Michigan Auto Theft Prevention Authority (ATPA).

The total number of cars stolen in the state dropped from about 29,650 to 26,875 during that period.

While the 9 percent year-to-year drop is impressive, the data also show that thefts actually dropped a whopping 50 percent between 2000 and 2010.

The state saw double or near double-digit decreases every year since 2007.

The ATPA attributed the decline to the 110 workers in the state who are funded with anti-theft grants from the ATPA, which was first established in 1986. At that time, Michigan was the state with the highest volume of car thefts in the country, with more than 72,000 vehicles stolen that year.

In 2010, the state had the 6th-highest volume and the 10th-highest theft rate.

Since then, there have been huge advances in antitheft technology–like automatic disabling devices and GPS tracking–that have significantly reduced the theft rate.

According to the ATPA, 6 of the 10 most-stolen vehicles in Michigan in 2010 were Dodge Ram pickups that were manufactured between 1997 and 2003.

The other vehicles on the top-10 list were Ford and Chevrolet pickups.

The largest share of thefts took place in Detroit, which accounted for 47 percent of the statewide total.

The ATPA is funded by a $1-per-vehicle assessment that’s paid by insurance companies and the returns on investments of those funds. Those funds then go to produce grants that help law enforcement agencies combat the theft problem. The Authority reported that it issued more than $6 million in grants between October 2010 and September 2011.

The ATPA says those grants resulted in $27.5 million worth of vehicles and equipment being recovered and more than 2,280 arrests being made.

In addition to law enforcement agencies, grants are issued to county prosecutors as well as nonprofits that provide VIN-etching services to residents. According to the ATPA’s latest report, etched vehicles are 29 percent less likely to be stolen when compared with non-etched cars.

Possible Insurance Implications of Lower Theft Rates

While Michiganders aren’t likely to see an immediate price cut while searching for the cheapest auto insurance in Michigan following the latest ATPA report, significant long-term drops in theft could help drivers get cheaper comprehensive coverage, which is the only type that provides protection after a car’s stolen.

When insurers have to pay fewer claims on a certain type of coverage, they generally lower the price.

However, insurers usually look at the local level, not statewide, and at the types of cars that are being stolen.

If there are drops in thefts in a policyholder’s area, or if they get a new car that has a better history with thefts or is equipped with effective antitheft devices, they could expect a drop in rates. But theft reductions at the statewide level likely won’t have any immediate effect on prices.


About Matthew Morisset
Matthew Morisset is a proud alumnus of the University of Redlands, where he obtained a degree in English Literature. Utilizing his passion for analysis and writing, Matthew looks for important trends in the auto insurance industry and their implications for consumers and the market as a whole.

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