Vehicle Theft Down in 2018

Brand new cars in Eilat’s port. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

There were fewer vehicles stolen in 2018 than in any other year of the 21st century, police said in a report summing up crime for the year. A total of 11,536 cases regarding stolen vehicles were opened in 2018, significantly fewer than the 16,662 opened in 2016, and the 13,256 investigated in 2017. There were also fewer motorcycles stolen in 2018 – 2003 – a 20-percent reduction over the 3,578 stolen in 2015.

Unlike with other categories of crime, police said that there was no danger that vehicle theft would be under-reported; vehicle owners who want to collect insurance are required to file a police report, so the reduction in numbers of stolen vehicles is “an authentic change in the level of crime,” police said, attributing the reduction to increased enforcement, better patrolling, and use of advanced technology to track down criminals.

According to police, a vehicle stolen in Tel Aviv will – within the hour – end up in a “chop shop” in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, where vehicles are taken apart and sold for parts. Police said they have increased their surveillance of Israeli garages that purchase these parts, and in that manner have been able to break up several gangs that have been responsible for large numbers of vehicle thefts.

Actually, it’s more likely that a resident of Yerushalayim will have his vehicle stolen; according to police statistics, the city saw 1,431 vehicles stolen, with Tel Aviv in second place with 939 thefts, and Beersheva third with 825 thefts. The most popular car for thieves are Mazdas; 1,099 of them were stolen in 2018, followed closely by Toyotas, 1,080 of which were stolen. Hyundais were the third most desired by thieves; 776 of them were stolen, followed by models of Kias and Skodas, some 450 of which each were stolen. Least popular among thieves were Hondas (290) and Fords (258). Other nameplates (Chevrolet, Peugot) registered fewer than 200 stolen vehicles during the year, the statistics showed.