Automobile thefts in Michigan—including thefts in Dearborn—are continuing a downward trend, according to statistics released this month from the Michigan Automobile Theft Prevention Authority.
The ATPA Annual Report highlights show that in 2011, auto thefts in Michigan declined 6.5 percent from the previous year. In 2011, 25,048 vehicles were reported stolen in Michigan, compared to 26,875 in 2010.
Similarly, in Dearborn, auto thefts fell from 478 in 2010 to 446 in 2011, according to the ATPA. In 2005, there were 1,082 vehicle thefts in Dearborn.
But Help Eliminate Auto Thefts—Michigan's statewide civilian tip line for auto-related crime—cautioned that the decrease shouldn’t make drivers any less vigilant with their vehicles.
“We’re always pleased to see the number of statewide vehicle thefts decline,” said Terri Miller, executive director of H.E.A.T., in a statement. “However, that doesn’t mean thieves aren’t trying new ways to target drivers, their belongings and personal information.
“Thefts may be down,” she added, “but fraud, carjackings and other auto theft-related crimes continue to rise in Michigan communities.”
Those auto theft-related crimes include online/Craigslist fraud with the sales of vehicles and parts; catalytic converter and tire and rim thefts; and re-tagging/cloning vehicles (swapping or duplicating VIN numbers).
Here’s a look at the statistics for 2011 from the ATPA:
- Auto thefts in Michigan declined 6.5 percent from 2010. In 2011, 25,048 vehicles were reported stolen in Michigan, compared to 26,875 in 2010.
- From 1986 to 2011, Michigan auto thefts dropped by 65.2 percent, compared to a decrease in auto thefts nationally of 41.6 percent.
- In 2011, Wayne County topped the list of Michigan counties with the highest reported motor vehicle thefts at 14,880 (59 percent of total state thefts). Oakland and Macomb Counties accounted for 1,943 thefts (8 percent) and 2,201 thefts (9 percent), respectively.
- The 2000 Dodge Caravan topped Michigan’s list of most stolen vehicles in 2011. Thieves’ top color preferences for vehicles to steal were once again black, followed by white and red.
- The months with the highest auto theft figures were July, August and June.
- Though the city of Detroit again saw an overall decrease in vehicle thefts, from 12,563 in 2010 to 11,238 in 2011 (-10.5 percent), it remains the highest ranking city in Michigan for auto thefts.
- As Wayne County thefts decreased, Macomb County auto thefts increased by more than 12 percent and Oakland County thefts increased by over 25 percent from 2010 to 2011. Outside of southeast Michigan, Genesee County thefts also increased by nearly 13 percent while Kent County thefts went down by nearly 15 percent.
Dearborn police offer the following tips for avoiding car-related crime:
- Keep your vehicle locked and windows rolled up, even if the vehicle is parked in your driveway or in front of your home.
- Park your vehicle in a garage or driveway whenever possible.
- Do not leave valuables visible in your vehicle, such as laptops, MP3 players, GPS units or money.
- Never leave any personal information in the car, such as the vehicle's title, registration, or your insurance.
- Avoid leaving your vehicle running unattended–even for a short period of time.
- Watch out for your neighbors' cars, too.
Dearborn residents can report any suspicious activity anonymously to the Dearborn Police Department at 313-943-3030.
Additionally, anyone with information related to a theft can report tips to H.E.A.T. by calling 1-800-242-HEAT, or online at www.1800242HEAT.com.
H.E.A.T. paid out more than $220,000 in rewards for auto theft tips in 2011 and 2012.
“With continued partnerships between citizens, the insurance industry, law enforcement, prosecutors and community organizations, H.E.A.T. is able to help auto theft crimes decline,” said Miller.