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Auto Thefts in Maricopa County Continue to Decline

PHOENIX, AZ (July 10, 2013) – Auto thefts in Maricopa County dropped more than 8.5% in 2012, marking the fifth consecutive year of declines, according to the latest data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). In its annual ranking of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), the NICB found that the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale MSA dropped from 60 to 70 last year, representing a decline from roughly 323 thefts per 100,000 residents to fewer than 282 thefts per 100,000 residents. As recently as 2008, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale MSA ranked 19 in the national survey, with more than 600 thefts per 100,000 residents.

“As these figures clearly show, our approach to investigating and prosecuting auto thefts in Maricopa County has been highly successful in holding these offenders accountable, recovering cars, and providing restitution and justice for victims,” remarked Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who previously served as the Auto Theft Bureau Chief for the MCAO from December, 2008 to April, 2010. “The fact that our office has seen successive year-over-year improvements in reducing these crimes without an increase in resources demonstrates a level of efficiency that County taxpayers can be proud of,” he added.

The County’s latest drop in auto thefts comes as the number of auto theft cases submitted to the County Attorney’s Office has increased sharply, more than doubling since 2010. Taken together, these two trends indicate that a higher percentage of car thieves are being apprehended by law enforcement and subsequently prosecuted. The County’s decline in auto theft for 2012 stands in contrast to preliminary data from the FBI, which shows an estimated 1.3% increase for the nation as a whole last year, a reversal of an eight-year downward trend in vehicle thefts.

Auto theft data used to compile the NICB report are drawn from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and compared to population figures compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau. The full report is available at www.nicb.org.

Previous rankings and auto theft rates for the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale MSA are as follows:

Year Ranking Rate per 100,000
2008 19 601.63
2009 40 396.58
2010 56 323.55
2011 60 308.03
2012 70 281.65

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