Why Vehicle Theft Rates Have Plummeted in Massachusetts, Nationally


In 1975, when Chevelles and Cutlasses ruled the road, Massachusetts held the dubious distinction of being the country's car theft capital, with an astounding 1 of every 35 registered motor vehicles reported stolen. Today, says the Boston Globe, motorists can worry far less about having their cars disappear. Auto thefts in Massachusetts have plunged 88 percent in the past four decades, a technology-aided decline that shows little sign of abating. In Boston, there were just 1,575 reports of stolen vehicles last year, compared with 28,000 in 1975. It is a major cultural shift that has not only curbed auto insurance rates, but spared residents untold expense and aggravation. Antitheft features, from transponder keys and immobilizing devices to vehicle tracking systems, have made cars far more difficult to steal. The days of unlocking a car door with a coat hanger, then hot-wiring it for a quick getaway, are all but over. “It's beyond any rational expectations,” said Kim Hazelbaker of the Highway Loss Data Institute, a nonprofit group supported by auto insurers. “It's been such an incredible story.”

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