Surge in stolen vehicle reports continues into 2024

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New Castle Police are reporting a sharp increase in vehicle theft, led by stolen Kias and Hyundais.

In 2023 County Police responded to and investigated 800 vehicle thefts and attempted thefts. This number represents a 112 percent increase from 2022.The next highest year was 2020 with 554 vehicle theft investigations. So far for 2024, more than 70 vehicle thefts or attempted vehicle thefts were reported in the county.

During 2023, 52 percent of thefts involved Kia and Hyundai models. It’s part of a national trend that started through a social media challenge which caused an uptick in thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles using USB cables to bypass the ignition.

During 2023, 23 percent of reported incidents came when the vehicle was not successfully taken, 20 percent of stolen vehicles had keys left inside the car, or the car had been left running and unoccupied. Out of the top 25 stolen vehicle locations, 19 were identified as apartment complexes with the most thefts occurring during the overnight hours.

Vehicle theft continues to be a problem across the nation due to juvenile offenders, new technology, and crime hacks spread through social media.

In 2023, 82 offenders were arrested during vehicle theft investigations resulting in a clearance rate of 22 percent. Some offenders were also charged with multiple cases.