Transcription

If you have issues viewing or accessing this file contact us at NCJRS.gov.\\. Organized Auto TheftsJJ u l y 1979The National Associationof AttorneysGeneralCommillL eon the Office of Atlomey General)

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This project was supported by Grant Number 78-PT-AX-O003awarded by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, UnitedStates Department of Justice. The fact that LEAA is furnishingfinancial support does not necessarily indicate its concurrencewith the statements herein.IJeffrey M. Trepel, COAG's Organized Crime Control Coordinator, had Iprimary responsibility for the preparation of this report.iCopyright 1979The Committee on the Office of Attorney Generalof the National Association of Attorneys General Foundation3901 Barrett DriveRaleigh, North Carolina 27609Price: 4.50ii

The National Association of Attorneys GeneralCommittee on the Office of Attorney GeneralORGANIZEDAUTOTHEFTAcQL S N July 1979

THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ATTORNEYS GENERALCOMMITTEE ON THE OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERALChairmanHonorable J. D. MacFarlaneAttorney General of ColoradoOther MembersHonorable Carl R. AjelloAttorney General of ConnecticutHonorable Frank J. KelleyAttorney General of MichiganHonorable John D. AshcroftAttorney General of MissouriHonorable Bronson C. La FolletteAttorney General of WisconsinHonorable Arthur K. BoltonAttorney General of GeorgiaHonorable Daniel R. McLeodAttorney General of South CarolinaHonorable William J. BrownAttorney General of OhioHonorable Allen I. 01sonAttorney General of North DakotaHonorable Chauncey H. BrowningAttorney General of West VirginiaHonorable William J. ScottAttorney General of IllinoisHonorable John J. DegnanAttorney General of New JerseyHonorable Theodore L. SendakAttorney General of IndianaHonorable M. Jerome DiamondAttorney General of VermontHonorable Warren R. SpannausAttorney General of MinnesotaHonorable Rufus L. EdmistenAttorney General of North CarolinaHonorable Robert T. StephanAttorney General of KansasHonorable Slade GortonAttorney General of WashingtonHonorable A. F. SummerAttorney General of MississippiHonorable Michael T. GreelyAttorney General of MontanaHonorable Mark WhiteAttorney General of TexasExecutive DirectorPatton G. Galloway3901 Barrett DriveRaleigh, North Carolina 27609iii

TABLEOFCONTENTSC o m m i t t e e on the Office of A t t o r n e y General . . . . . . . .Table of Contents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .List of Tables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .I.THE SCOPE AND C H A R A C T E R OF AUTO T H E F T. .iiivviiix. . . . . . . . . . .M E T H O D S OF R E T I T L I N G S T O L E N V E H I C L E S . . . . . . . . . . . .Salvage Switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .A l t e r e d or Stolen V e h i c l e I d e n t i f i c a t i o n N u m b e r s . . . . . .Fraudulent Documents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99IIII.W E A K N E S S E S IN THE T I T L I N G AND R E G I S T R A T I O N P R O C E S S . . . . .Intake and P r o c e s s i n g . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .V e r i f i c a t i o n of V e h i c l e Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S a l v a g e V e h i c l e and D o c u m e n t Process . . . . . . . . . . . .L a c k of D o c u m e n t U n i f o r m i t y . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Document Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1313151718184.I M P R O V I N G THE T I T L E / R E G I S T R A T I O N P R O C E S S . . . . . . . . . .P h y s i c a l I n s p e c t i o n of Vehicles . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S e i z u r e of V e h i c l e s and Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .D o c u m e n t I n t a k e a n d Inspection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .C o n f i r m a t i o n of V a l i d Title . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .S a l v a g e V e h i c l e and D o c u m e n t Control . . . . . . . . . . . .V e r i f i c a t i o n of F o r e i g n Title . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .212223242626315.R E G U L A T I O N OF WRECKERS, D I S M A N T L E R S AND S A L V A G E Y A R D S .The P o s t - S a l v a g e Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Regulation Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .The Illinois E x p e r i e n c e . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Prohibitions Against VIN Alteration . . . . . . . . . . . .3232333538oF THE V E H I C L E I D E N T I F I C A T I O N N U M B E R . . . . . . . . . .VIN Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .V i n R e p l a c e m e n t and R e m o v a l . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3939407.INSURANCE FRAUDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .448.ANTI-CAR THEFT COMMITTEES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48EXPORTED STOLEN VEHICLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Seaports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Mexico. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .505051F E D E R A L R E S P O N S E S TO AUTO THEFT . . . . . . . . . . . . . .P r o p o s e d D y e r Act M o d i f i c a t i o n s . . . . . . . . . . . . . .The P r o p o s e d M o t o r V e h i c l e Theft P r e v e n t i o n Act . . . . . .5454576.lO. USEV

SESIdentificationTO AUTO616164THEFT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .- RECOMMENDEDSTATERESPONSESAPPENDIX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .vi67. . . . . . . . . . . 71

LISTOFTABLESTableI.Index of Property Crime, United States,Table2.Motor Vehicle and Related Thefts 1972-1977,Percent Change Over 1972 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2Percent of Those Arrested for Motor Vehicle Theft WhoWere Juveniles (Under 18) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3Table3.1960-1977 . . . . . .1Table4.Solution Rates for Motor Vehicle Theft . . . . . . . . . . .3Table5.Average Value of Vehicle Theft Related Offenses andValue of Recovery, 1967-1977 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4Motor Vehicle Theft 1974-1977,Percent of Total Vehicles Stolen by Type . . . . . . . . . . .4States in Which 25,000 or More Motor VehiclesWere Stolen, 1977 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7States Above 1977 National Average,Compared to 1976 Position . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7States in 1977 with Increases of I0 Percentor More . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8States in 1977 with Decreases of I0 Percentor More . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8TableTableTableTable6.7.8.9.Table I0.Table II.State Policies for Surrendered TitlesTable 12.State Policies for Vin Plate Inspection. . . . . . . . . . .16Table 13.Analys s o Data ields o n Face of Title Certifieates . . . .19Table 14.Theft Rates by Manufacturer and Model Year . . . . . . . . . .64Massachusetts Theft Rate - January 1974 . . . . . . . . . . .64Table15.vii. . . . . . . . . . . .14

GLO S SARYThe following terms and abbreviations will be used frequently throughout this report, sometimes without further identification.The readershould be familiar with these terms.ADRA - Automotive Dismantlers and Recyclers of America.AAMVA - American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.Chop-Shops - Operations in which cars, usually late-model, expensive vehicles, are stolen and disassembled and reduced to their parts which arethen resold.Also known as cut-shops.Con Vin -'See VIN, below.DOT - United States Department of Transportation.DMV - Division of Motor Vehicles.DMV will be used generically here torefer to all state agencies dealing with vehicle registration, althoughthey may have different names in different states.MC0 - Manufacturer's certificate of origin.A certificate issued by themanufacturer of a new motor vehicle for each vehicle in which it certifiesthat it has transferred the vehicle to another party, usually a dealer ordistributor.The MC0 is accepted as proof of ownership for titling andregistration o f new cars in most states.Also known as manufacturer'sstatement of origin (MSO).NATB - N a t i o n a lAutomobile Theft Bureau.NATB is an insurance industryfinanced organization which pursues numerous activities to combat autotheft, many of which are described in this report.N H T S A - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a subdivision ofDOT (see abo e), created b he National Highway Safety A c of 1966, whichauthorizes NHTSA to issue standards relating to highway safety.National Workshop on Auto Theft Prevention - A workshop held in New York inOctober, 1978 in New York under the sponsorship of the New York StateSenate Committee on Transportation.A compendium of the proceedings isavailable, made possible by an LEAA grant.Nearly 300 participants from 30states and from business and industry were in attendance.A Liaison Committee has been created out of the workshop, the purpose of which is toestalish task forces on a state or regional basis to combat auto theft.Salvage certificate or title - A certificate of title for a salvage vehicle(see below) which an insurance company or owner receives from a state inreturn for surrendering the original title.A salvage vehicle, in somestates, may be conveyed only with the salvage title, and, conversely, asalvage title can convey only a salvage vehicle.The purpose of the sal-ix

vage title is to combat the salvage switch (see below) by preventingconveyance of a stolen car by using the title to a salvage car.theSalvage switch - In the salvage switch, a thief obtains a salvage vehicleand some type of legitimate documentation of the ownership of it.Then,the thief steals a car similar in year, make and model to the salvagevehicle and, using the salvage VIN plate, license plates (if any) and otheridentifiers,he givesit the identity of the salvage vehicle.The"revived" car may then be retitled or re-registered and sold to a thirdparty.Salvage vehicle - A vehicle usually acquired by an insurer when a totalloss settlement occurs between an insurance company, usually when thevehicle is so extensively damaged that the cost of repairing it exceeds itsfair market Value.UVC - Uniform Vehicle Code, promulgated by the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances.The Committee is made up of representatives from the federal government, states governments and legislatures, andnumerous private interests ranging from the Auto Club of Southern California, for example, to the American Trucking Association.Most statesutilize portions of but not all of the UVC.VESC - Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission.An organization through whichmember states specify uniform performance requirements for vehicle equipment.VINVehicle identification number, consisting of a sequence of numeralsand letters assigned to each vehicle by its manufacturer to give it aunique identity.The public vehicle identification number, or PVIN, isaffixed to the vehicle in a readily visible position, usually the driver'sside of the top of the dashboard.The "confidential,""secondary" or"secret" VIN is concealed on the vehicle by the manufacturer in a locationknown only to the manufacturer and law enforcement authorities.The combination of letters and numerals in the confidential VIN is usually thesame as or a derivative of the public VIN.-X

I.THESCOPE ANDCHARACTEROF A U T OTHEFTMotor vehicle theft ("auto theft" and "car theft" will be used synonymously with "motor vehicle theft"; the latter is a more accurate phrase, asit includes truck, tractor and construction equipment theft) is one of themost widespread and costly of the property crimes.Thefts of motorvehicles and their contents and accessories accounted for nearly one halfof all reported larcenies in 1977, and in that year the combined loss valuefor stolen vehicles, their contents and accessories exceeded 2.3 billion,with the value of the vehicles themselves being about 1.93 billion.1There were 968,400 motor vehicle thefts reported in 1977, 998,100 thefts ofcontents from motor vehicles, and 1,210,700 thefts of motor vehicle accessories. A car was stolen every 33 seconds, and one out of 143 registeredcars was stolen in 1977.TABLE 1971197219731974T97519761977INDEX OF PROPERTY CRIME, UNITED STATES, 1960 - 1977Property CrimeInstances3,095,7003,198 6003,450,7003,792.5004,200 4004,352 0004,793.3005,403 5006,125 2006,749 ,230,30010,318,2009,926,300Rate*1 726.31 747.91 857.52 012.12 197.52 248.82 450.92,736.53 071.83 351.33 621.03 768.83.560.43 737.04 389.34 800.24,806.84,588.4Motor Vehicle 948,200459.8887 200426.1928,800442.6977 ent change1960-1977220.6%165.8%* rates based on I00,000 inhabitantsi.195.1%144.6%All statistical data in this chapter is from: United States Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Relevant National Statistical DataRelating to Auto Theft Problems as Extracted from the Uniform CrimeReports for 1960-1977 (January 1979).1

Preliminary 1978 Uniform Crime R e p o r t s t a t i s t i c s , r e l e a s e d j u s t p r i o rto t h e time this publication w e n t to p r e s s , indicate t h a t t h e i n c i d e n c e ofauto t h e f t rose by 15 p e r c e n t n a t i o n w i d e , and 24 p e r c e n t in the South.An a s t o n i s h i n g one out of e v e r y 44 r e g i s t e r e d motor v e h i c l e s was e i t h e rstolen itself or had c o n t e n t s or accessories stolen in 1977.In 1977, t h ea v e r a g e value of a stolen motor vehicle was 1,992, t h e a v e r a g e value ofc o n t e n t s stolen from a motor vehicle was 231, a n d t h e a v e r a g e value ofa c c e s s o r i e s stolen from a motor vehicle was 128.The national t h e f t rate for the motor vehicle itself has l e v e l e d offsince 1970.(See Table 1 . )The United States D e p a r t m e n t of J u s t i c eb e l i e v e s this is d u e , in l a r g e p a r t , to the installation of i m p r o v e d ignitionlocking d e v i c e s , which b e g a n with 1969 cars and was r e q u i r e d as of J a n u a r y 1, 1970 by S t a n d a r d 114 i s s u e d by t h e D e p a r t m e n t of T r a n s p o r t a t i o n(DOT) in a c c o r d a n c e with t h e National Traffic and Motor Vehicle SafetyAct of 1966.2A l t h o u g h t h e crime of t h e f t of t h e vehicle itself i n c r e a s e d by only 1p e r c e n t from 1976 to 1977, as can be s e e n in Table 1, it was t h e onlyp r o p e r t y crime i n d e x o f f e n s e t h a t i n c r e a s e d d u r i n g t h a t y e a r .In 1977,t h e r e w e r e 450,000 f e w e r r e p o r t s of t h e f t of c o n t e n t s a n d a c c e s s o r i e s frommotor v e h i c l e s t h a n in 1976.The r e a s o n s for this d e c l i n e are u n k n o w n .Over t h e p e r i o d 1972-1977, h o w e v e r , t h e f t s from motor v e h i c l e s and t h e f t sofaccessoriesincraa.q df rrnnP thnnth ft fth xT hlrl itc lf/q Table 2. )TABLE 2:MOTOR VEHICLE AND RELATED THEFTS 1972-1977, % CHANGE OVER 1972CategoryMotor Vehicle TheftsThefts from Motor VehiclesThefts of Motor VehicleAccessories73/72 5% 4- 574/72 10% 2675/72 13% 5076/72 8% 6777/72 9% 31 ]5 54 90 65T h e r e is s u b s t a n t i a l e v i d e n c e t h a t t h e n a t u r e of t h e car t h i e f and ofcar t h e f t is c h a n g i n g . While j u v e n i l e s still a c c o u n t for a l a r g e p o r t i o n oft h e f t s , t h e i r p a r t i c i p a t i o n has b e e n d e c l i n i n g . In 1967, j u v e n i l e s ( p e r s o n su n d e r 18) a c c o u n t e d for 61.9 p e r c e n t of t h o s e a r r e s t e d , while in 1977 t h e ya c c o u n t e d for only 53.0 p e r c e n t of t h o s e a r r e s t e d .(See Table 3 . ) During t h e same 1 0 - y e a r p e r i o d , while the total a r r e s t r a t e was down 12.5p e r c e n t , t h e j u v e n i l e a r r e s t r a t e was down 25.0 p e r c e n t .( I t should ben o t e d , h o w e v e r , t h a t t h e total a r r e s t rate rose by 12.4 p e r c e n t in 1977over 1976.)Solution rates for motor vehicle theft have also d r o p p e d substantially.In 1967, 24.3 percent of thefts resulted in an arrest, while in 1977 only15.8 percent of thefts resulted in an arrest (up from 14.1 percent in1976).T h e decline in the solution rate over the ll-year period is thus 35percent.(See Table 4.)2.23 U.S.C. § 402.

TABLE TABLE PERCENT OF THOSE ARRESTED FOR MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT WHO WEREJUVENILES (UNDER 18)Total arrest rateper 100,000Juvenile arrestrate per nt of thosearrested whowere 53.OSOLUTION RATES FOR MOTOR VEHICLE THEFTTheft rateper I00,000334 1393 0436 2456 8459 8426 1442 6462 2469 4446 1447 6Total arrest rateper I00 e of arrestsper theft(solution Another indication that professionals are stealing a higher proportionof c a r s is t h a t in 1967 the a v e r a g e value of a r e c o v e r e d motor vehicle as ap e r c e n t a g e of its value at the time of t h e f t was 86 p e r c e n t ; b y 1977 t h ep e r c e n t a g e h a d d r o p p e d to 60 p e r c e n t .(See Table 5 . )C a r s remain,h o w e v e r , t h e s t o l e n item most likely to be r e c o v e r e d b y law e n f o r c e m e n ta g e n c i e s b y a wide m a r g i n .A n o t h e r p o s s i b l e indication of d e c r e a s i n g j u v e n i l e t h e f t a n d i n c r e a s e do r g a n i z e d or p r o f e s s i o n a l t h e f t of motor v e h i c l e s is t h e t r e n d in t h e t h e f tr a t e for d i f f e r e n t t y p e s of vehicles.(See Table 6 . )The p r o p o r t i o n ofstolen v e h i c l e s w h i c h were t r u c k s a n d b u s e s i n c r e a s e d from 6.4 p e r c e n t in1974 to 9.4 p e r c e n t in 1977, while t h ep r o p o r t i o n which were cars dec r e a s e d b y 4 p e r c e n t d u r i n g the same p e r i o d .P r e s u m a b l y , y o u n g s t e r s donot g e n e r a l l y a p p r o p r i a t e t r u c k s or b u s e s for " j o y r i d i n g . "3

TABLE TABLE 6:AVERAGE VALUE OF VEHICLE THEFT RELATED OFFENSES AND VALUE OFRECOVERY, 1967-1977Average value oftheft 1,0179919929489339361,0951,2461,4571,7411 992Amount recoveredas proportion ofvalue of theft86%85807774747266625950MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT 1974-1977,PERCENT OF TOTAL VEHICLES STOLEN BY TYPEYearAutosTrucks and BusesOther 99.0197780.39.410.3For purposes of the* "Other vehicles"consistsmostly of motorcycles.conUniform Crime Reports the term "motor vehicle"does not includestruction and farming equipment.T h e U . S . :lustice D e p a r t m e n t b e l i e v e s t h a t t h e s e s t a t i s t i c s are cleare v i d e n c e t h a t t h e i n v o l v e m e n t of j u v e n i l e s a n d a m a t e u r s is d e c l i n i n g .R e a s o n s a d v a n c e d for t h e decline i n c l u d e t h e d e c r e a s i n g p r o p o r t i o n ofj u v e n i l e s in t h e American p o p u l a t i o n , t h e g r e a t e r a c c e s s i b i l i t y of cars toy o u t h s b e c a u s e of t h e i n c r e a s e in the a v e r a g e n u m b e r of cars p e r family,and t h e i n s t a l l a t i o n of i g n i t i o n locks u n d e r S t a n d a r d 114. T h e S t a n d a r d ' smain p u r p o s e was to d e t e r amateur t h i e v e s .S t a t i s t i c a l l y it a p p e a r s toh a v e b e e n s u c c e s s f u l , s i n c e t h e total t h e f t r a t e has r e m a i n e d fairly cons t a n t since 1970 while t h e j u v e n i l e a r r e s t r a t e has d e c l i n e d s i g n i f i c a n t l y .The corollary to t h e d e c r e a s i n g r a t e of j u v e n i l e auto t h e f t is ani n c r e a s i n g r a t e of a d u l t , p r o f e s s i o n a l a n d o r g a n i z e d auto t h e f t .Thep r o p o r t i o n of t h o s e a r r e s t e d for auto t h e f t who w e r e a d u l t s r o s e from 38.1p e r c e n t in 1967 to 47 p e r c e n t in 1977, an i n c r e a s e of 23.4 p e r c e n t .Thea b s o l u t e r a t e of a r r e s t s of a d u l t s has d r o p p e d s i n c e 1967, b u t it h a ssimply not d r o p p e d as s h a r p l y as t h e j u v e n i l e r a t e .The J u s t i c e D e p a r t m e n t ' s view of t h e c h a n g i n g c h a r a c t e r of auto t h e f tmay be summarized this way:Law enforcement officials are catching [fewer car thieves] even thoughthey have instantaneous access through their computer system to all motor

vehicles which have been reported stolen.We believe this decline isevidence that today's car thief does not keep the stolen vehicle on thestreets but alters its condition in some fashion, retitles it, or exportsor transports the vehicle out of the country. We believe furthermore thatthe continual decline in the rate of the value of recovered stolen motorvehicles from 86 percent recovery in 1967 to 59 percent recovery in 1976 isclear evidence that professional thiefs have increasingly entered thestolen motor vehicle area. While juveniles (i.e. under 18) still accountfor more than 50 percent of the arrests, the car thief -- according toavailable arrest statistics is growing older.He is concealing hisactivities and is being arrested less often.Instead of abandoning thestolen vehicle, he is retitling it, cutting it up for parts, exporting it,or transporting it into Mexico or Canada. 3A major a s s a u l t on t h e citizen's o w n e r s h i p of h i s automobile h a s comefrom t h e s o - c a l l e d " c h o p - s h o p " or " c u t - s h o p . "In t h e s e o p e r a t i o n s , c a r s ,u s u a l l y late model, e x p e n s i v e c a r s , are s t o l e n a n d d r i v e n to a p r e d e t e r mined s i t e , t h e n picked up a n d d r i v e n to a " c u t t i n g f a c t o r y , " w h e r e t h e yare d i s a s s e m b l e d and r e d u c e d to p a r t s which can be r e s o l d .The r e m a i n ing p a r t s are u s u a l l y sold or g i v e n to a s c r a p p r o c e s s o r , or sometimesabandoned.Law enforcement and i n s u r a n c e officials a t t r i b u t e t h e loss ofm a n y of t h e 40 p e r c e n t of stolen v e h i c l e s which a r e n e v e r r e c o v e r e d tothese operations.T h e r a p i d l y r i s i n g p r i c e s of new a n d u s e d c a r s a n d p a r t s a n d ofr e p a i r i n g v e h i c l e s has c r e a t e d an e x p a n d e d m a r k e t for "hot" cars a n dp a r t s , a n d some less t h a n s c r u p u l o u s r e p a i r s h o p s f i n d it h i g h l y p r o f i t a b l eto r e b u i l d a damaged car with stolen p a r t s r a t h e r t h a n with new or u s e dlegitimate p a r t s .According to Automotive News, t h e a v e r a g e s t i c k e r p r i c eof a 1979 G e n e r a l Motors car is 7,668, a n d t h e a v e r a g e 1979 Ford MotorCompany car lists at 7,368. 4 It is g e n e r a l l y a g r e e d t h a t t h e p r o f i t s tocar, t h i e v e s from " c h o p - s h o p " a c t i v i t i e s f a r e x c e e d t h e p o t e n t i a l gain fromthe t h e f t a n d r e s a l e of i n t a c t c a r s .The Alliance of American I n s u r e r s h a sd e t e r m i n e d t h a t to r e b u i l d a p o p u l a r 1979 car s u c h as a C h e v r o l e t Impalafrom its component p a r t s , p u r c h a s e d i n d i v i d u a l l y a t normal labor r a t e s ,would cost o v e r 20,000.As the price of new c a r s r i s e s , t h e p r i c e ofp a r t s also i n c r e a s e s , u s u a l l y at an e v e n g r e a t e r r a t e ."Chop-shops" are closely related to the "salvage switch," describedby the Chief of the San Antonio Police Department:iThese were body shops who were doing legitimate vehicle repair, second-hand rebuilding, and what-have-you.Well, they found out that goingto the salvage yard and buying late model wrecks that were in demand, and. Testimonyof Stephen M. Weglian, Attorney, Criminal Division, U.S.Department of Justice, before the public hearing of the New York State,Senate Committee on Transportation and Senate Consumer ProtectionCommittee concerning auto thefts, 2 (January 24, 1978).4.Automotive News, I (September 25, 1978).5

trying to rebuild them was much too expensive.An easier way was to justrebuild the identifying system, the VINS.Consequently, the name of thegame was to steal a car identical to the one that was listed as salvage,and then transfer the numbers and thus seemingly giving a guise of legitimacy to the stolen vehicle and, of course, moving it to the legitimatemarket, sOne o u t l e t for t h e disposal of stolen vehicles a n d p a r t s is t h e e x p o r tmarket.This m a r k e t for u s e d cars and p a r t s is s t r o n g in Mexico, SouthAmerica a n d t h e Middle East.The New York State Committee on T r a n s p o r t a t i o n b e l i e v e s t h a t a l a r g e , but u n d e t e r m i n e d , n u m b e r of cars is b e i n ge x p o r t e d o v e r s e a s from t h e Port of New Y o r k , especially t h r o u g h the PortNewark, New J e r s e y s e c t i o n . 6 The trail of stolen v e h i c l e s to Mexico isvery substantial.The National Automobile T h e f t B u r e a u s t a t e s t h a t stolenp i c k u p t r u c k s , t r u c k / t r a c t o r s , c o n s t r u c t i o n e q u i p m e n t a n d l u x u r y cars aresold or b a r t e r e d along t h e U . S . - M e x i c o b o r d e r for not more t h a n 10 p e r c e n t of t h e i r U . S . v a l u e .Once t h e y h a v e b e e n f a l s e l y d o c u m e n t e d inMexico t h e y can t h e n be sold for twice t h e i r U . S . v a l u e . Sometimes stolenv e h i c l e s are e x c h a n g e d for n a r c o t i c s . Law e n f o r c e m e n t a n d i n s u r a n c e i n d u s t r y s o u r c e s a g r e e t h a t automobilei n s u r a n c e f r a u d is i n c r e a s i n g , a l t h o u g h it is difficult to estimate t h e numb e r of v e h i c l e s r e p o r t e d stolen which actually r e p r e s e n t i n s u r a n c e f r a u d .The New York City Police D e p a r t m e n t has estimated t h a t up to 25 p e r c e n tof t h e v e h i c l e s r e p o r t e d stolen t h e r e in r e c e n t y e a r s w e r e actually disp o s e d of b y t h e i r o w n e r s to collect i n s u r a n c e , s This form of f r a u d cantake on s e v e r a l v a r i a t i o n s .In 1977, 968,358 motor v e h i c l e s were stolen in t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s . Notu n e x p e c t e d l y , t h e most s e v e r e problems t e n d to be c o n c e n t r a t e d in t h emore p o p u l o u s , u r b a n i z e d and a f f l u e n t s t a t e s in t h e c o u n t r y .In 1977, t h el a t e s t y e a r for which data is available, t h e "top t e n " s t a t e s - t h o s e inw h i c h more t h a n 25,000 motor vehicles were stolen d u r i n g t h e y e a r - areshown in Table 7.To p u t this data in p e r s p e c t i v e , in California an a v e r age of 398 motor v e h i c l e s was stolen each day.As quoted in New York State Senate Committee on Transportation, NATIONAL WORKSHOP ON AUTO THEFT PREVENTION:COMPENDIUM OF PROCEEDINGS,23 (October 3-6, 1978).New York State Senate Committee on Transportation, AUTO THEFTS:RISK HIGH PROFIT CRISIS IN NEW YORK STATE, 5 (January 16,[hereinafter cited as AUTO THEFTS IN NEW YORK STATE].8.National Automobile Theft Bureau,Supra note 6, at 6.61977 ANNUAL REPORT,17.A LOW1978).

TABLE 7:1977Rank12345678910STATES IN WHICH 251000 OR MORE MOTOR VEHICLES WERE STOLEN 1977StateCaliforniaNew aniaNew 1,01849,80342,85139,26437,48929,698Percentof National1977 Total15.0 13.86.86.15.35.14.44.13.93.1Total614 43063.5E x p r e s s e d in t e r m s of t h e f t r a t e s p e r p o p u l a t i o n , t h e a v e r a g e t h e f tr a t e for t h e e n t i r e c o u n t r y in 1977 was 447.6 t h e f t s p e r 100,000 i n h a b i tants.T h i r t e e n of t h e states had t h e f t r a t e s a b o v e t h a t a v e r a g e , asd i s p l a y e d in Table 8.TABLE 8:STATES ABOVE 1977 NATIONAL AVERAGE,1977Rank1977Rate*I. Massachusetts1,140.12. Rhode Island791 43. Alaska753 34. New York745 85. California663 26. Connecticut593 27. Nevada559 28. Michigan545 59. Illinois528 6I0. New Jersey511.511. Hawaii489.412. Colorado477.113. Delaware467.0* rates based on I00,000 inhabitants** 1977 national average rate - 447.6COMPARED TO 1976 8 I06119812PercentChange-13.1%-II.6- 6.5 1.0 2.9 5.6 10.7-II.0 4.7 0.8- 9.7 7.9- 3.6A l t h o u g h M a s s a c h u s e t t s c o n t i n u e s to be f a r a w a y t h e l e a d e r in t h et h e f t r a t e ( f o r r e a s o n s t h a t a r e not e n t i r e l y c l e a r ) , it can be s e e n t h a tt h e r e was a s u b s t a n t i a l de c l i ne of a b o u t 13 p e r c e n t in t h a t r a t e in 1977.T h e r e was also a 10 p e r c e n t d r o p in t h e t h e f t r a t e in M a s s a c h u s e t t s in1976, a n d it is t h o u g h t t h a t t h e fo rmatio n of an a n t i - c a r t h e f t committeea n d c a m p a i g n t h e r e in 1976 may be p a r t i a l l y r e s p o n s i b l e fo r t h i s i m p r o v e ment.S u c h committees a r e d i s c u s s e d at p a g e 48.

Ascanbeseenin Table 9, less urbanizedstates s h o w e dthe greatesti n c r e a s e s in the auto t h e f t rate in 1977, although t h e i r r a t e s and numericaltotals remained far below t h a t of the l a r g e r s t a t e s .States h a v i n g lowert h e f t r a t e s should not n e c e s s a r i l y be complacent, because t h e y may be p a

Attorney General of Missouri Honorable Arthur K. Bolton Attorney General of Georgia Honorable William J. Brown Attorney General of Ohio Honorable Chauncey H. Browning Attorney General of West Virginia Honorable John J. Degnan Attorney General of New Jersey Honorable M. Jerome Diamond Attorney General of Vermont