Press Release - 03-10-2020

DMV News

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Lisa Koumjian
[email protected]

Tim O’Brien
[email protected]  


Vehicle Thefts Complaints Increase Nearly 70 Percent

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the New York Police Department (NYPD) are warning vehicle owners of a rash of vehicle thefts in New York City.  From December 29 through January 26, criminal complaints for stolen vehicles rose 67.2 percent when compared to the same time a year ago. The trend continued in February with stolen vehicle complaints up 59.5 percent compared to the previous year.  In many cases, the vehicles were left unlocked with the keys or key fobs inside, making them prime targets for thieves. 

“With the rise in popularity of keyless vehicle entry and push-button ignitions, drivers are more likely to leave their keys behind, and criminals are taking advantage of the easy access,” Commissioner Schroeder said. “We are reminding vehicle owners to be vigilant and make sure their doors are locked at all times.”  

“To combat criminals who target vehicles, I strongly encourage every driver to take some very easy steps to help prevent theft: Never leave your vehicle running and unattended – even for a minute. Take your keys with you and lock your doors. These simple measures undoubtedly will lead to a decrease in these highly-preventable crimes,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said. “The men and women of the NYPD work tirelessly each day to keep people in every New York City neighborhood safe, and we need everyone who drives a vehicle to share in that responsibility.”

From December 29, 2019 through January 26, 2020 there were 520 stolen vehicle complaints in the five boroughs compared to 311 complaints during the time the year prior. In February 2020, excluding February 29, there were 488 complaints compared to 306 complaints in February 2019.

The DMV and NYPD offer these tips to prevent vehicle thefts:

  • Keep your vehicle locked;
  • When parked, never leave your keys in the car;
  • Never leave your car running and unattended;
  • Avoid leaving valuables inside your vehicle where passersby can see them;
  • Do not leave your vehicle title in the car.

Consumers can learn more about what to do if a vehicle is stolen on the “Stolen and Recovered Vehicles” page on the DMV website. DMV also offers guidance on what to do if your license plates are stolen, whether they are taken with the car or stolen off the car, on our “Lost, Stolen or Destroyed Plates” page. 

If you are buying a car and want to check whether it is stolen, you can go to the National Insurance Crime Bureau page to check by entering the Vehicle Identification Number. 

Vehicle owners should also be wary of insurance lapses on stolen vehicles. New Yorkers can learn about protecting themselves by visiting our “Insurance Lapses on Stolen Vehicles” page. 

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