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Auto Theft Facts and Figures

Motor vehicle theft is the unlawful taking or stealing of a motor vehicle, including attempts. Statistics compiled by the Uniform Crime Reporting Section of the Virgie Department of State Police “include all thefts of motor driven vehicles such as automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, etc.” in this category.

Motor vehicle thefts in Virginia increased from 15,022 offenses in 1987 to 21,284 offenses in 1991, a 42 percent increase. Since HEAT began in 1992, motor vehicles thefts have decreased by 58.44 percent as compared to the base year of 1991. A total of 8,846 thefts were reported in 2012.

  • The average value of motor vehicle thefts in Virginia each year is $55,883,342 (based on a five-year average from 2008 – 2012.)
  • There is a definite seasonality to the incidence of motor vehicle thefts. June through August are the leading months for motor vehicle thefts, with more than 30 percent of reported thefts occurring during this time frame.
  • On average, 38 percent of the persons arrested for motor vehicle theft in Virginia are 20 years old or younger.
  • More than half of the motor vehicle thefts reported in Virginia occur in independent cities.
  • Nearly 82 percent of all motor vehicle thefts reported in Virginia are in three areas of the state: Tidewater, Northern Virginia and Richmond.

Source for above facts and figures: Crime in Virginia. Virginia Uniform Crime Reporting Program Department of State Police 1988 – 2012 editions.

Beyond the Statistics

Many people have little concern about auto theft since they consider it a non-violent crime. In fact, auto theft can result in death and injury: for example, a car speeds away after being stolen and injures or kills someone or someone is injured or killed when his or her vehicle is carjacked.

2005-2012 Regional Vehicle Theft Statistics

NICB 2009 Vehicle Thefts by State

More Auto Theft Statistics Related links

FBI Uniform Crime Reports