Security Firm: Car Theft a Lot Worse Than Police Say

Eilat's port is the main entrance for ships carrying loads of brand new cars to be sold in Israel. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90
Eilat’s port is the main entrance for ships carrying loads of brand new cars to be sold in Israel. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

According to a new report by Ituran, a company that supplies technology that helps owners find cars that have been stolen, car theft has risen significantly in 2016 – especially of newer models, from the years 2014 onward. According to Ituran, theft of late model vehicles rose 65 percent in the Yerushalayim area during the first part of 2016, while thefts were up 50 percent in the Sharon region. The Tel Aviv metropolitan area saw thefts jump 48 percent.

The Ituran report (prepared by the Etgar organization) was at odds with one by police that claimed that car theft was down significantly this year, by a figure of 19 percent. However, an analysis of the statistics by Yediot Aharonot indicated that the latter figure referred to all cars, including cars that were more than four years old. The analysis indicated that when it came to cars three years old and newer, theft was up 22 percent. The Ituran figures took into account only cars that were protected with the new system, which tended to be the more expensive models, while the Yediot figures included all newer cars.

Thefts had also been on the rise in 2015 – a trend that suddenly halted in September, after the latest round of terror attacks against Israelis began. With police on greater alert, said Yediot, it was likely that car thieves had decided to halt their activity due to the greater likelihood that they would be caught.

The Ituran report said that the reason Yerushalayim was the biggest target for car theft was because it was located near the large Arab cities where many “chop shops” were located, including Ramallah and Chevron. The report said that the most-sought-after vehicles were mini-jeeps, and of those, the Kia Sportage was most in demand by car thieves.