Motor vehicle theft is the unlawful taking or stealing of a motor vehicle, including attempts.
In 1987, there were 15,022 motor vehicle thefts in Virginia. In 1991, auto thefts soared to 21,284. The Help Eliminate Auto Theft program was established in 1992 to educate citizens and law enforcement about vehicle theft and the theft of parts. And while auto thefts have since decreased by more than 60 percent, there is still plenty that can be done to Help Eliminate Auto Theft.
- Auto thefts occur most often in summer and least frequently during winter. In 2017, almost 40 percent of all incidents occurred between June and September. August saw the most thefts (1,019), with July (968) following closely behind. The fewest auto thefts occurred in February (693) and April (699).
- There were 1,110 arrests reported in 2017, an increase of 11 percent from 2016, when 997 arrests were reported. Of those arrested, 184 were under the age of 17 in 2016, down from 206 arrests in 2016, an 11 percent decrease.
- In 2017, the value of reported stolen motor vehicles totaled $86 million. When the HEAT program began in 1992, the value of vehicles reported stolen totaled $106,006,275. There’s been a 20 percent drop over 25 years.
Source for above facts and figures: Crime in Virginia. Virginia Uniform Crime Reporting Program Department of VSP-5906-HEAT-2019-Annual-Statistics-Report State Police 1988 – 2016 editions.