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Car thefts reach 14-year high as smuggling concerns grow

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According to a blog post from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), there were more than 1 million car thefts reported in the United States in 2022. The number, which averages out to about two stolen cars every minute, is a 7% increase from 2021. The number of car thefts is also the highest it’s been since 2008.

“If you’re planning on a road trip, it’s important to remain alert and stay vigilant in order to keep you and your families safe,” the NICB said in the blog post. “Before heading out, drivers should double check their insurance policy. While liability insurance is required, comprehensive coverage is not. The NICB encourages vehicle owners to call their insurance agents to make sure they are covered in the event of a theft.”

The increase in car thefts may impact more than just the victims. According to NICB President and CEO David Glawe, it will likely lead to all drivers paying a higher premium on their car insurance.

According to a CBS News investigation, thousands of the stolen cars reported in 2022 were smuggled out of the country. In some cases, the cars are being smuggled in broad daylight, right past U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the country’s biggest ports of entry.

License plate readers installed at checkpoints in California, Arizona and Texas recorded 2,829 stolen vehicles driven into Mexico, according to the California Highway Patrol. The NICB said its foreign operations unit repatriated more than 2,000 stolen vehicles that had been trafficked to foreign countries in 2022.

However, a CBP spokesperson told CBS just 144 stolen cars were seized on their way into Mexico. In an email, a CBP spokesperson told CBS the agency “routinely conducts periodic or targeted departure/outbound examinations in order to check traveler compliance of documentary and other regulatory requirements.” However, CBP won’t pursue stolen cars into Mexico because of jurisdictional limitations. 

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MORE THAN **ONE MILLION** CARS WERE STOLEN IN 20-22.
THAT’S THE HIGHEST NUMBER SINCE 2008.
IT’S THE EQUIVALENT OF ABOUT TWO VEHICLES STOLEN **EVERY MINUTE**.
THE KIA AND HYUNDAI CAR-THEFT CHALLENGE IS PROBABLY NOT HELPING THESE NUMBERS.
— WITH CAMERA SURVEILLANCE AT SOME BORDER PORTS OF ENTRY —
A CBS NEWS INVESTIGATION UNCOVERED **THOUSANDS OF THESE STOLEN VEHICLES BEING SMUGGLED INTO MEXICO AND GOING UNCHECKED.
LICENSE PLATE **READERS INTSTALLED IN CALIFORNIA, ARIZONA, AND TEXAS WERE ABLE TO CAPTURE NEARLY 3 THOUSAND STOLEN VEHICLES DRIVEN OUT OF THE COUNTRY ACCORDING TO A CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL OFFICIAL —
WHO SUSPECTS THE NUMBER IS MUCH LARGER.
NOT ONLY ARE THE VEHICLES BEING DRIVEN OUT —
BUT LUXURY CARS ARE ALSO BEING SMUGGLED IN SHIPPING CONTAINERS AT PORTS FROM THE EAST TO THE WEST COAST.
AND WE’LL ALL BE PAYING FOR THE INCREASE IN CAR THEFTS —
BECAUSE INCREASED CRIME RATES ARE GOING TO TRANSLATE INTO PAYING A HIGHER PREMIUM FOR YOUR VEHICLE.
THAT’S ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL INSURANCE CRIME BUREAU.