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Motor Vehicle Theft Essay, Research Paper

Motor Vehicle Theft

One vehicle is stolen every 27 seconds in the United States. Motor vehicle theft is widespread throughout the United States, more so than in any other country. An estimated 1.1 million auto thefts occurred during the 1999-year, this was the lowest total since 1985. According to the Uniform Crime Report, the 1999 figures show the greatest number of motor vehicle thefts occurred during the month of August, and the fewest during the month of February. The national rate of car thefts in 1999 was 421 motor vehicle thefts per every 100,000 United States inhabitants, this showed a steady decline from years past. Declines in the number of motor vehicle thefts from 1998 to 1999 were reported for all 4 regions in the United States. The greatest decline was a 12 percent drop in the western states; the northeastern states reported an 8 percent drop, the southern states had a 6 percent decline, and the midwestern states experienced a 5 percent drop. Motor vehicle theft is one of the biggest problems in the United States today, but law enforcement is making several efforts against it.

Juveniles commit the highest amount of motor vehicle theft. Statistics show that in the year 1999, males accounted for 84 percent of the people arrested for car theft, 55 percent of the arrestees were white and 42 percent were black. By age, men and women under the age of 25 commit 65 percent of all car thefts, and arrestees under the age of 18 are responsible for 35 percent. This figures is mostly due to the act of joyriding, the oldest and most common type of car theft. Typically, teenage boys will steal an automobile, drive it around for a while, and then abandon it. Kids usually pick a sports car or a nicer type automobile for this act, they get the thrill of driving before they are of age, or the rush of committing a criminal act. Several hundred thousand American teenagers resort to joyriding as a means of rebellion.

The Uniform Crime Reports tell us that regionally, the highest rate of motor vehicle theft was recorded in the Western states at 506 per 100,000 people. The southern states reported a rate of 439; the Midwestern states, a rate of 375; and the Northeastern states had a rate of 343 per 100,000 inhabitants. Most people would think that the Northeastern states would have a higher rate of auto theft because of New York City’s high rate of crime, but Los Angeles actually has a higher rate of motor vehicle theft, which greatly increases the Western states rate. In the Midwestern states, both Chicago and Detroit adds to the high rate of car theft in that region, both with over 14,000 motor vehicle thefts each year. In the Southern states major cities like Orlando and New Orleans the rate is high because of their high amount of tourists who are easy prey for car theft.

Many things can happen to a car once it is stolen, it depends mainly on what type of motor vehicle theft it is. If the theft is just a joyride then the car is usually abandoned not far from where it was taken. Another case where a car is abandoned after a theft is when that car was used as a get a way car for a robbery or some other crime. There is a big market today for used car parts all over the world, because of this there are many places set up to quickly strip stolen cars of there parts, these places are called chop shops. Usually a chop shop has a front as a normal place of business, for example; an auto body shop. When a car is stolen, the thief, usually a teenager, takes it to a chop shop and receives money in turn. The chop shop then strips it down leaving only the useful parts, it sells these parts to several different locations who are need for them. To a chop shop, a car is worth more in pieces than it is in whole, and they can get a lot more money for selling separate parts than they could if they sold the whole car.

Because it is such a major problem in the United States, law in enforcement is working on reducing motor vehicle theft. Every squad car now has a tracking system for LoJack. LoJack Corporation develops and markets the most widely used stolen vehicle recovery technology utilized by law enforcement and security organizations in the world. Because of its wide acceptance in the United States, LoJack considers itself the largest nationwide marketer of aftermarket security products for automobiles. Its radio frequency based system is the most successful tracking technology available today. Over 40,000 stolen vehicles equipped with the LoJack System have been recovered by U.S. law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement has also put out an Auto Theft Task Force to help decrease the amount of motor vehicle thefts. The Auto Theft Task Force is a joint effort by patrol and investigative units within the Police Department to attack the high volume of auto thefts in the City. The Task Force has focused on areas with high concentrations of auto thefts and the initial indications are that the Task Force effort reduces auto theft in its areas of concentration.

Personally, I have always felt that all of the index crimes would be a lot lower in number if the penalties were harsher. In other countries people’s hands are cut off for shoplifting, and in Singapore people are caned for spitting gum on the street. Most people in this country do not fear the law, and they certainly don’t fear the consequences for breaking it. We have prisoners in this country that sit on death row for 40 years and are not yet executed. If every time a person was caught attempting to steal a motor vehicle in the United States, they amputated a foot or hand as punishment, I can almost guarantee that people would think twice before attempting the theft. The number of motor vehicle thefts would decrease drastically and our country would be safer for the normal people that don’t commit crimes. Obviously this is a very drastic solution to the problem, but sometimes if you want results you need to use drastic measures. I understand that not everyone would agree with this method, and it would never be allowed to happen in the United States, so there are a few other ways to decrease the amount of cars stolen. It starts with the owners of the motor vehicles, they have to be smarter with where they leave their cars, and remember to lock their doors. Car alarms can be a big help in dissuading a car thief from choosing to steal their car. If alarms are too expensive for people, they now have the option to install LED lights on their dashboard that gives the appearance of a car alarm. Devices that lock the steering wheel or break can be very affective, thieves will not want to waste their time with a car that may be difficult to steal. Of course having LoJack installed in your car is a very good way of making sure that if your car is stolen, that you will get it back. Motor vehicle theft may be one of the biggest problems in the United States, but it is being worked on, and perhaps soon it will be a problem that is solved.

Work Cited

Department of Justice Home Page/Bureau of Justice Statistics/Last revised-

June 23, 2000/www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs

Federal Bureau of Investigation Home Page/Uniform Crime Reports/Last Revised-June 2000/www.fbi.gov/ucr.htm

Stolen Vehicle Police Recovery Network/LoJack Home Page/Last Revised-2000/www.Lojack.co

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