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Kenton Brine, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director     
NW Insurance Council    
Phone: (503) 465-6800/(800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975

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Oregon auto thefts on the rise - 31 percent higher in Medford; also up in Portland and Grants Pass
  • Number of vehicles stolen in Oregon up 11 percent statewide
  • Owners of vehicles stolen are on the hook without Comprehensive Insurance Coverage
  • Drivers are recommended to follow the “four layers of protection” to guard against vehicle theft

PORTLAND Several Oregon metropolitan areas posted increases in the number of auto thefts in 2015, and the state’s overall auto thefts rose 11 percent, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) recent annual Hot Spots Report.

Medford saw a 31 percent increase in its auto theft rate, Grants Pass jumped 19 percent and the Portland area rose by 10 percent. Corvallis had a steep 34 percent increase and Salem went up 5 percent in 2015. Eugene’s auto theft rate decreased slightly by 2 percent and the Bend area decreased 18 percent.

The frequency of auto theft in Oregon is a strong reminder to consider optional Comprehensive or Other than Collision Coverage, which covers the cost of replacing your vehicle if it’s stolen. Comprehensive Coverage, also known as Other than Collision Coverage, pays for vehicle damage not caused by a collision, depreciation and normal wear and tear. Examples of what is covered include auto theft, fire, hail, windstorm, flooding and glass breakage.

“Vehicle owners continue to pay billions of dollars each year for auto theft,” said Kenton Brine, NW Insurance Council president. “Because the cost to replace stolen vehicles and repair those that are recovered is reflected in insurance rates, stopping auto theft is important to all of us.”

Vehicle theft is the nation’s number-one property crime, costing an estimated $4.1 billion in 2013, according to the FBI.  In 2015, 11,166 vehicles were stolen in Oregon.  That’s more than 31 vehicles per day and more than one vehicle stolen every hour. 

Brine recommended drivers employ the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s “Four Layers of Protection” to guard against auto theft. “The more layers a driver can employ, the less chance his or her vehicle will be targeted by car thieves,” Brine said. The protections include common sense measures like locking your car, adding warning devices like light and sound auto alarm systems, adding an immobilizing device such as a fuse cut-off or kill switch, or using an onboard tracking device.

The persistent high number of thefts means vehicle owners continue to pay millions of dollars for auto theft through their insurance premiums.

Here are the top eight Oregon cities with the highest theft rates in 2015 and how they compare to 2014 data (percentages rounded):

  1. Grants Pass : 362 Thefts, 427.16 Theft Rate, +19% Theft Rate Change
  2. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro: 7,797 Thefts, 326.34 Theft Rate, +10% Theft Rate Change
  3. Salem: 1,213 Thefts, 295.79 Theft Rate, +5% Theft Rate Change
  4. Medford: 492 Thefts, 231.46 Theft Rate, +31% Theft Rate Change
  5. Eugene: 835 Thefts, 230.09 Theft Rate, -2% Theft Rate Change
  6. Albany: 269 Thefts, 223.15 Theft Rate, +6% Theft Rate Change
  7. Bend-Redmond: 134 Thefts, 76.45 Theft Rat, -18% Theft Rate Change
  8. Corvallis: 64 Thefts, 73.08 Theft Rate, +34% Theft Rate Change

*The theft rate is based on the number of thefts per 100,000 inhabitants using U.S. Census data.

How to Help Stop Auto Theft & Insurance Fraud
In some cases, auto theft is a form of insurance fraud when vehicle owners arrange to have their vehicles stolen with hopes of collecting the insurance money. If you witness or have knowledge of an auto theft, you can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422) or by texting keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411).  

For more information about the Hot Spots Report and insurance fraud, visit National Insurance Crime Bureau and NW Insurance Council.

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

National Insurance Crime Bureau is the nation’s leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness.