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Contact: Carole Walker, Executive Director
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New Insurance Report Ranks Albuquerque in Top Ten U.S. Cities for Auto Theft: New Mexico Insurance and Business Communities Team Up with Law Enforcement and Government Officials to Fight Back.
April 22, 2009 – For the past two years, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has ranked Albuquerque, New Mexico in the nation's top ten cities for auto theft. Although the state's largest metropolitan area moved from 7th highest motor vehicle theft rates in 2007 to 8th in 2008, auto theft continues to be a booming business for car thieves in New Mexico.
2008 marked the fifth consecutive year of declining auto thefts in the U.S. and preliminary crime data released by the FBI indicates that motor vehicle theft is down by 12.6 percent—if that number holds, it will be the largest single year drop in thefts since 1999. Unfortunately, Albuquerque is experiencing a plight similar to other cities that border Mexico and places them within easy access of drug cartels that use stolen cars as a means to finance and transport drugs, weapons and money into and out of Mexico. That's why New Mexico stakeholders have teamed up to pass legislation to reduce the state's auto theft problem.
Working Together for Solutions
New Mexico law enforcement, government officials, state legislators and members of the business community have partnered with the insurance industry during recent years to target auto theft. Rep. Bill Rehm (D)-Albuquerque sponsored a memorial last year that created an auto theft task force to study the problem and identify solutions. That auto theft task force helped develop legislation resulting in the passage of Rep. Rehm's HB-31 and Sen. Mary Jane Garcia's SB-26. Governor Bill Richardson has signed both bills that strengthen penalties for motor vehicle theft; creates new crimes of embezzlement and fraud for auto theft; relocates motor vehicle theft and damage crimes from the Motor Vehicle Code to the Criminal Code.
"Albuquerque's auto theft problem is not new, but combining efforts of all stakeholders to combat the problem is what will ultimately make the difference in reducing the number of vehicles stolen," says Marty Trujillo, Farmers Insurance and member of the auto theft task force. "And the in long run that not only lowers our crime rate, but may affect what New Mexicans pay for car insurance."
HB-31 & SB-26 Links:
Link to NICB news release and full report:
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and law enforcement recommend a layered approach to preventing auto theft.
1. Use Common Sense
- Park in well-lit areas.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Report anything suspicious and avoid suspicious looking people.
- Lock your doors.
- Close your windows completely.
- Take your keys out of the car.
- Never leave your car running unattended – not even for a minute.
- Remove all items from the car or hide them from view.
2. Visible or Audible Anti-Theft Devices
- Audible alarm system
- Steering wheel locks
- Steering column collars
- Theft deterrent decals
- Wheel locks
- Window/VIN etching
3. Vehicle immobilizer
- Smart keys have computer chips that must be present to start the car.
- Fuse cut-offs
- Starter, ignition and fuel disablers
4. Tracking system
- Install a tracking system that alerts police or a monitoring service when the vehicle is reported stolen.
5. Avoid carjacking
- Drive with windows rolled up and doors locked.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- When stopped at a signal, leave enough space between you and the next car to be able to drive away if approached.
- Do not enter your car if someone is loitering. Seek help.
- Be alert at drive-up ATMs.
- If all else fails, don't resist. Your life is more important.
Link to more information on New Mexico auto theft:
Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association is a non-profit consumer information organization. Affiliated with the Insurance Information Institute, RMIIA has been serving consumers and the media since 1952.