Vehicle theft rankings up in 7 SC areas last year
From the South Carolina Insurance News Service:
COLUMBIA, SC - Myrtle Beach holds the top spot in South Carolina for vehicle thefts, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau's annual report.
Seven out of ten metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, around South Carolina saw their vehicle theft rankings increase in 2008.
According to the report, Hot Spots, on auto theft rates, Myrtle Beach continues to hold the No. 1 spot in vehicle theft in the state and across the Southeast. The NICB and local law enforcement officials attribute the high theft rate in Myrtle Beach to its proximity to the state line, high rate of tourism and popular large events. Anderson moved to the No. 2 position in the state and Sumter jumped into third place from ranking eighth in 2007.
While preliminary data from the FBI shows a 12.6 percent decrease in vehicle theft nationally, South Carolina fares worse with the number of vehicles stolen remaining steady and several areas seeing increases in vehicle theft.
|2008 Ranking||MSA Name||US Ranking|
|1||Myrtle Beach - Conway - North Myrtle Beach||15|
|5||Charlotte - Gastonia - Concord, NC (including York County, SC)||50|
|6||Augusta - Richmond County, GA (including Aiken and Edgefield Counties, SC)||56|
|10||Charleston - North Charleston||102|
Vehicle theft costs car owners and insurance companies more than $7 billion each year according to the Insurance Information Institute. Auto theft is covered under the comprehensive section of an auto insurance policy. Premium rates for comprehensive insurance are affected by the likelihood that an insured car will be stolen or damaged and the car's value at the time of the loss.
|2008||2007||2006||Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)||Thefts||Rate||Thefts||Rate||Thefts||Rate|
|15||23||20||Myrtle Beach - Conway - North Myrtle Beach||1,586||616.21||1,545||618.72||1,668||696.46|
|50||38||29||Charlotte - Gastonia - Concord, NC (including York County, SC)||7,542||443.18||8,600||522.34||9,401||594.97|
|56||55||76||Augusta - Richmond County, GA - (including Aiken and Edgefield Counties, SC)||2,212||414.06||2,385||451.44||2,266||434.04|
|102||132||119||Charleston - North Charleston||1,991||308.92||1,890||299.79||2,083||337.8|
NICB's Hot Spots report examines vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center for each of the nation's MSAs. The vehicle theft rate is determined by the number of vehicle theft offenses per 100,000 inhabitants according to the 2008 U.S. Census Population Estimates, the most current figures available. (MSAs are designated by the Office of Management and Budget and often include areas much larger than the cities for which they are named. For example, the Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC MSA is defined as four counties in Georgia and Aiken and Edgefield Counties in South Carolina.)
The South Carolina Insurance News Service and NICB recommend five steps for protecting your vehicle:
- Car buyers should consider a vehicle's theft rate before purchasing a new car. Ask your insurance agent or company for information, or link to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's latest ratings at www.highwaysafety.org to view your vehicle's theft loss information.
- Use common sense - Lock your doors, remove the keys and park in well-lit, public areas.
- Utilize visible and audible devices such as alarms or steering wheel locks. Also make sure your vehicle identification number (VIN) is etched on your vehicle. Other devices are brake locks, wheel locks, tire locks/tire deflators, theft deterrent decals and micro dot marking.
- Use immobilizing devices like cut-off switches and fuel disablers. Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys.
- Purchase tracking devices which emit a signal to police when the vehicle is reported stolen.
The Modesto, CA MSA has a higher theft rate than any other city in the United States. Six of the top ten areas with the highest vehicle theft rates are in California and all ten are in the western states.
For the list of the most commonly stolen vehicles by model in South Carolina, link to the South Carolina Insurance News Service web site www.scinsurance.net or call 803-252-3455.
Anyone with information concerning auto theft can report it anonymously by calling 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422). For the full NICB auto theft study, visit www.nicb.org.