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THE NATIONAL INSURANCE CRIME BUREAU REPORTS VEHICLE THEFT UP 1.6 PERCENT FOR 1991

 THE NATIONAL INSURANCE CRIME BUREAU REPORTS
 VEHICLE THEFT UP 1.6 PERCENT FOR 1991
 PALOS HILLS, Ill., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Our nation's experience with vehicle theft during 1991 was worse than any other property crime, according to Arnold Schlossberg Jr., president and chief executive officer of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
 In announcing results of a recent NICB analysis of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports (released Aug. 30, 1992), the NICB executive noted there were 1,661,738 vehicle thefts in 1991, an increase of 1.6 percent over 1990. The number of vehicles stolen has increased 61 percent since 1984.
 People still steal cars and still are motivated by greed and financial return. In 1991, the estimated value of motor vehicles stolen countrywide was nearly $8.3 billion.
 The NICB executive pointed out that motorists play an important part in preventing vehicle crime by:
 -- Locking their cars and pocketing the keys.
 -- Parking with front wheels turned sharply to the right or left and applying emergency brakes, making it difficult for professional thieves to tow cars away.
 -- Putting packages and valuables out of sight.
 -- Keeping driver's licenses and vehicle registration in their wallets or purses. Left in vehicles, thieves use these documents to impersonate owners when transferring cars' ownership.
 -- Parking in well-lighted areas.
 In addition, Schlossberg offered the following tips to motorists:
 -- Buy cars from established, legitimate, licensed dealers. Beware of deals that are too good to be true.
 -- When buying from a private individual, be cautious of a seller with no fixed address, place of employment, or phone number. If your deal sours, you need to be able to locate the seller for recourse.
 -- Ask sellers for references about past financing and insurance on vehicles. Verify the information with banks, finance companies, or insurance agents. Record information such as driver's license and other identification.
 -- Check the manufacturer's vehicle identification number (VIN) for alterations or replacement. It must match the VIN on the title. If the VIN plate is missing, scratched, or bent, or if the attachment rivets are missing or loose, tampering may have occurred. The vehicle identification number (VIN) on late model cars consists of 17 letters and numbers. They are inscribed on a metal plate inside the passenger compartment, on or adjacent to the left windshield pillar (driver's side of the vehicle), and are visible from the outside of the windshield.
 -- Thieves often remove the VIN plate, and replace it with one from a similar wrecked vehicle. If in doubt about the plate's authenticity, have the vehicle checked by a new car dealer who handles the same model. Or more important, contact your local law enforcement agency.
 -- Be suspicious of a fresh paint job on a newer model vehicle. It may indicate cover-up work to change the car's identity.
 -- Check the inspection sticker and license plate tabs to be sure they are current and issued by the same state.
 -- Obtain at least one set of original manufacturer's keys. Be suspicious if a seller provides only re-made keys for a newer model car.
 -- Complete all paperwork at the time of sale. Remember: titles and registrations are frequently stolen or counterfeited.
 "If vehicle crime is to be stopped, consumers must adopt more aggressive theft and fraud prevention strategies," Schlossberg said.
 -0- 9/14/92
 /CONTACT: Tim Kett of NICB, 708-430-2430/ CO: National Insurance Crime Bureau ST: Illinois IN: INS SU:


LD -- NY080 -- 9329 09/14/92 17:16 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 14, 1992
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