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I'm not "in the know", so I'm a little confused about why car thefts are going UP in the US even though we are getting more sophisticated immobilizer systems.

I'm sure some of the cars get dragged up onto a flatbed trailer, but can this POSSIBLY be the predominant means of car theft?

Are only old non engine immobilized cars getting stolen?

Since 9 of the top 10 cities for theft are in the "sun-belt", are people leaving their cars running with the AC on since it's hot, and other people step in and drive away?

I'm confused....

From CNN

Top ten cities for car theft
These cities led the nation in rates of car theft for 2003

City Total car thefts Rate per 100,000 population
Modesto, CA 6,016 1,345.87
Phoenix-Mesa, AZ 40,769 1,253.71
Stockton-Lodi, CA 6,730 1,194.11
Las Vegas, NV 18,103 1,158.01
Sacramento, CA 17,054 1,047.42
Fresno, CA 9,102 986.65
Oakland, CA 23,199 969.63
Miami, FL 21,088 935.85
San Diego, CA 26,091 927.24
Detroit, MI 40,197 905.02
 

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Because car thefts are no longer prosecuted. Twenty years ago, car thieves spent an average of more than five years in jail. Today, most aren't even prosecuted. It used to be that your car had about the same standing as was given a horse in earlier times - you can't make a living if you don't have your car, so car theft was treated as a serious crime. Now, it's treated like a prank.
 

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Might it not also be because without the salt to damage and rust out the cars in warmer areas of the country, they may have a larger range of older cars with less anti-theft on the road?

That said, the 10 year old BMW I just got rid of to take delivery of my MINI had all manner of anti-theft on it, even being that it was 10 years old. Maybe it's more likely to be American cars stolen? I doubt that, since all the stats I ever see say it's mostly Toyotas and Hondas filling the top ten lists, and that is understandable because they also top the most units sold lists for those years too.
 

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I think it's a combination of two reasons:

First, high end cars are stolen and taken south of the border. There was an expose on a San Diego TV channel about all the officials in some central American area driving stolen SUVs.

Second, the cars are being stolen for chop shops. I bet a good percentage of the auot parts sold on Ebay are from stolen cars. And as parts get more expensive the more prevalent this crime will become.
 
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