South Carolina Car Theft Rate Continues to Rise

May 12, 2006

The number of vehicles stolen in South Carolina has risen for the seventh year in a row. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) annual report on auto theft rates, Hot Spots, there were nearly 24,000 vehicles stolen in the metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) in South Carolina in 2005.

While preliminary data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) shows a 2.1% decrease in vehicle theft nationally, several areas around South Carolina and the adjoining metropolitan areas saw increases in vehicle theft.

The Charlotte/Rock Hill MSA had the highest vehicle theft rate in the area and ranked 25 nationally for vehicle theft. Law enforcement officials in Rock Hill attribute the increase in auto thefts to their close proximity to the interstates, North Carolina state line and the larger Charlotte metropolitan area.

While the Columbia area had the highest number of vehicle thefts within South Carolina, Myrtle Beach continues to hold the number one spot of all the South Carolina MSAs and number 27 in the country for the vehicle theft rate. NICB and local law enforcement officials say that Myrtle Beach has a higher vehicle theft rate due to the distance to the state line as well as the high rate of tourism and popular large events in the area each year.

Vehicle theft costs car owners and insurance companies nearly $8 billion each year according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Auto theft is covered under the comprehensive section of an auto insurance policy. Premium rates for comprehensive insurance are affected by the likelihood that an insured car will be stolen or damaged and the car’s value at the time of the loss. The South Carolina Insurance News Service recommends car buyers consider a vehicle’s theft rate before purchasing a new car.

Source: South Carolina Insurance News Service

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