Press Release - 07-11-2017

DMV News

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tiffany Portzer           
[email protected]    



DMV Offers Tips on How to Protect Vehicles from Being Stolen
for National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month


The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) urged car owners today to take steps to protect their vehicles from being stolen. July is National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month because summertime is the season when most vehicle thefts occur. New York State has seen a decline in car thefts and ranks as one of the safest states in the nation to own a vehicle.


In 2015, more than 700,000 vehicles were stolen in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which estimates the cost of stolen vehicles totals more than $5 billion nationwide in 2015 alone — up from $4.5 billion in 2014.


“A car is one of the most expensive and important purchases people make, and there are simple steps you can take to help prevent it from being stolen,” said Terri Egan, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and Acting Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee. “In New York, we take vehicle theft prevention seriously, which is why our state has one of the lowest rates of vehicle theft in the nation.”


According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, a trend of decreasing car thefts in New York continued in 2015 when 15,313 vehicles were stolen statewide. The rate of 77.4 thefts per 100,000 population means that New York has the fourth lowest rate of vehicle theft in the nation.


New York also has six of the top 20 regions in the nation with the lowest percentage of car thefts: Watertown-Fort Drum, Glens Falls, Kingston, Ithaca, Utica-Rome, and Elmira, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s 2016 annual “Hot Spots” report.


The New York City Police Department reported they had a record low theft number in 2016 of 6,327 stolen vehicles in the five boroughs. In comparison, they had 140,000 thefts in 1990 and 7,332 in 2015.


To proactively decrease incidences of motor vehicle theft, New York State also provides more than $3.7 million to the Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention program. Overseen by a 12-member board and supported by staff at the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, this program provides grant funding for two dozen law enforcement agencies and prosecutors serving urban communities with high rates of fraud and theft, so they can develop strategies to combat such crime.


“Reported motor vehicle thefts have declined by more than 80 percent over the past two decades, which is a testament to the excellent work of our law enforcement partners across the state,” said Michael C. Green, Executive Deputy Commissioner of DCJS, who also serves as chairman of the Motor Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention Board. “Certainly, there is more work to be done. But watching these figures decline year after year is ample evidence that our efforts to combat motor vehicle thefts is having a positive impact.”


DMV investigators work all year long to combat motor vehicle theft. In New York State, every vehicle deemed totaled by an insurance company must be physically examined by a DMV investigator before it is allowed back on the road. The examination verifies that it is the correct vehicle and legitimate parts were used to repair it. DMV also issues special title branding for these vehicles to ensure consumers are aware of what they are buying.


Drivers can take steps to prevent their cars from being stolen. A chief factor in auto thefts is consumer error.


Among the tips NHSTA offers in a new video:


  • Take your key; don't leave it in or on your vehicle.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
  • Park in well-lit areas, in a garage if possible. 
  • Never leave valuables in your vehicle — especially where they are in sight.

The top 10 stolen vehicles in 2015, the NHTSA says, are the Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Chevrolet Silverado, Toyota Camry, Ford F150, Ford Econoline, Nissan Altima, Ford F250, Toyota Corolla and Chevrolet Impala.


If your vehicle is stolen, report it to the police and your auto insurance company as soon as possible. The police will enter the information into national and state auto theft computer records. The theft will be noted on your vehicle title record to help prevent someone from selling the vehicle or applying for a title.


Consumers can learn more about what to do if a vehicle is stolen on our “Stolen and Recovered Vehicles” page on the DMV website.


If your vehicle is recovered, make sure the police cancel the stolen vehicle alarm so the recovery will be listed on your title record. Do not use the vehicle or apply for plates and registration until you are sure the alarm has been cancelled.


You’ll also need to report your stolen plates. Ask the police to complete a 'Report of Lost or Stolen Motor Vehicle Items' form (MV-78B) for your stolen plates. DMV also offers advice on what to do about your stolen license plates, whether they are taken with the car or stolen off the car on our “Lost, Stolen or Destroyed Plates” page.


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


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