Mini-Jeeps Are Car Thieves’ Favorites, Study Shows

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

A survey of 500,000 vehicles by Israeli automobile security firm Ituran shows which vehicles are most likely to be stolen, and when. The bottom line: If you own a “mini-jeep” and live in Netanya, Yerushalayim, and Tel Aviv, watch out – especially on Sunday nights.

According to the statistics gathered by the company, which tracks stolen vehicles using a device attached to a vehicle, vehicle theft was up 10 percent in the third quarter of 2018 compared to the previous quarter. Sunday night, when 22 percent of thefts take place, is the most “popular” night for vehicle theft, replacing Thursday night, which was the most popular night in 2017.

The more popular a vehicle is, the more likely it is to be stolen; the majority of stolen cars, Ituran said, end up in “chop shops” in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, and are stolen for parts, which are “harvested” and sold back to Israelis. Privately owned cars accounted for 34 percvent of all vehicle theft, and of those, mini-jeeps, which have shot up in popularity, constituted 24 percent of all cars stolen. Fifty-three percent of all stolen cars are 2015 or younger models, and 11 percent were this year’s models.

Fifty-two percent of thefts were committed by a car thief stealing the keys, while 30 percent involved breaking into the vehicle. Ten percent involved violent theft or carjacking, or towing the car without the owner’s permission. One third of all vehicles stolen were taken from cities in the Tel Aviv area, 21 percent were taken from towns in the Sharon area, and Yerushalayim accounted for 13 percent of all stolen vehicles. The safest place to own a car was in Judea and Samaria, where only 3 percent of car theft took place.

After Yerushalayim, Tel Aviv was the most popular city for car theft; 11 percent of all cars stolen were taken there, while Netanya accounted for 7 percent, the report added.

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