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Fewer vehicle thefts reported in 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 4:56 PM
Last updated Thursday, July 18, 2013 7:20 AM
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Augusta motorists are reporting fewer vehicle thefts at the midway point in the year, following a statewide trend.

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A recovered Ford Expedition at Chancey's Wreck Service in south Augusta was stolen, gutted and burned.   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
A recovered Ford Expedition at Chancey's Wreck Service in south Augusta was stolen, gutted and burned.

According to Richmond County Sheriff’s Office monthly crime statistics, there were 114 motor vehicle thefts reported in June, pushing the six-month total to 488. In the first half of 2012, there were 532 cases reported.

Despite the decrease in thefts, Investigator Billy Dixon said he stays busy tracking down missing cars. After all, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that a vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds.

“It’s an everyday thing,” he said. “It’s not happening as often in years past, but we’re always working on something.”

The FBI reports that 715,373 vehicles were stolen in 2011, costing owners and insurance companies about $4.3 billion nationwide. Georgia is among the worst states for vehicle theft, ranking sixth. California ranks No. 1.

With 881 reported thefts, Augusta was among the worst in the state in 2012. Columbus saw 846 cases, followed by Savannah, with 659, according to the FBI’s Web site. Atlanta, with more than 5,150 thefts, led all Georgia cities. Athens, which reported 243 thefts in 2012, was the only Georgia city included in the report that did not improve on its 2011 numbers.

In Columbia County, there have been 52 motor vehicle thefts so far in 2013. There were 99 cases in 2012, Capt. Steve Morris said.

About 40 percent of vehicle thefts involve mistakes by the driver, a July 8 NHTSA news release said. Many of the thefts are the result of vehicles left unlocked. Drivers who leave their keys in the car are most prone to theft, Morris said.

“We have very few forced-entry thefts,” he said. “(Unlocked vehicles) could be the byproduct of living in a neighborhood with a low crime rate.”

Thefts can occur anywhere, from residential neighborhoods to apartment complexes. Even gas stations can turn into crime scenes if drivers don’t exercise caution, Morris said.

“We’ve had vehicles stolen from gas stations where the driver left the keys in the car to go pay for gas,” he said.

NHTSA reports that only about 52 percent of stolen vehicles are ever recovered. Dixon and Morris both say the recovery rate is higher in the Augusta area, but the reason for the theft plays a big factor.

“Was it taken for parts or for a joy ride?” Dixon said. “Sometimes a vehicle is stolen just so the thief has a ride to the other side of town. Those are the quickest to recover.”

The vehicles are sometimes sold for scrap metal, Dixon said. One Richmond County incident report shows that a 1994 Pontiac Grand Prix was stolen from a house and sold to Newell Recycling for $374.65.

After a vehicle is stolen, however, officers must work quickly to track it down. The search becomes more difficult if the vehicle isn’t recovered in the first two or three days, Dixon said. After a vehicle is reported stolen or missing, it is entered into the National Crime Information Center in case it is recovered elsewhere.

“A majority of stolen vehicles are recovered over time,” Morris said. “Not all, for sure.”

Thefts by the numbers

Augusta motor vehicle thefts (from Richmond County Sheriff’s Office crime statistics)

2013

January – 76

February – 71

March – 63

April – 83

May – 81

June – 114

Augusta motor vehicle thefts

2012

January – 155

February – 57

March – 33

April – 55

May – 108

June – 124

July – 75

August – 51

September – 42

October – 26

November – 92

December – 63

States with most stolen vehicles (according to the NHTSA):

1. California

2. Florida

3. Texas

4. New York

5. Illinois

6. Georgia

7. New Jersey

8. Maryland

9. North Carolina

10. Nevada

NHTSA tips on how to prevent thefts:

• Take your key. Don’t leave it in or on your vehicle.

• Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.

• Park in well-lit areas.

• Keep your vehicle in your garage, if possible.

• Never leave valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen.

• Never leave the area while your vehicle is running.

• Protect your vehicle with an antitheft/immobilizer device.

Comments (15) Add comment
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countyman
19038
Points
countyman 07/17/13 - 08:33 pm
2
5
Let's continue to fight crime

The city will have to install cameras along the main corridors in the suburbs. They can easily identify the stolen vehicles on the road for instance, and catch people in the act.

Why did the article include Athens, but not Macon which is a much larger city?

The overwhelmingly majority of crime is down this year, and continues to drop every single year lately. The violent crime rate in Augusta is already lower than the majority of peer cities across the US.

The media needs to realize the public deserves the right to hear both the positive and negative. I have no problem if 90% of the articles/media coverage related to crime is being reported on Richmond County, but 90% the positive stories better include the area too. I want to see the additional coverage related to the daily life in South Augusta, Harrisburg, Blythe, Laney Walker, Olde Town, Midtown, Waters Edge, Summerville, Hephzibah, Forest Hills, West Augusta, Mcbean, Southwest Augusta, CBD, Medical District, etc.

GnipGnop
11432
Points
GnipGnop 07/17/13 - 10:13 pm
5
2
well when you buy the paper...

you can dictate what articles and content they print....sheesh

corgimom
27364
Points
corgimom 07/17/13 - 10:50 pm
6
1
Not to mention who can post

Not to mention who can post on their blogs

corgimom
27364
Points
corgimom 07/17/13 - 10:51 pm
5
1
Well, hurry up, AC, don't

Well, hurry up, AC, don't keep Countyman waiting!

itsanotherday1
40020
Points
itsanotherday1 07/17/13 - 11:23 pm
2
2
Statistically insignificant

From 532 to 488 is -8%, hardly anything to toot about. Get back to me when it is 30% or 40%. I imagine all of that can be accounted for with better security features on newer cars. I would expect that gradual trend to continue as older cars are junked for newer ones.

Riverman1
79032
Points
Riverman1 07/18/13 - 04:30 am
4
2
RC 488 CC 52

RC 488
CC 52

Shortcomment
1158
Points
Shortcomment 07/18/13 - 06:07 am
3
0
When crime drops

it usually means the economy is recovering.

I wonder what caused this drop?

Shortcomment
1158
Points
Shortcomment 07/18/13 - 06:19 am
2
0
CobaltGeorge
149696
Points
CobaltGeorge 07/18/13 - 06:40 am
3
3
And

RC 488
CC 52 (Majority stolen by someone not living in Columbia County)

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 07/18/13 - 06:56 am
2
3
Raw numbers: totally
Unpublished

Raw numbers: totally useless information without calculating the rate...either per population or per number of vehicles.

nocnoc
38184
Points
nocnoc 07/18/13 - 07:43 am
3
1
For my older car

I purchased a 6ft. heavy coated braided cable and Heavy Duty Padlock.
I run the the cable ends under the driver front Seat Mountings and up through the steering wheel openings and lock it.

An older car in good shape parted out fetches a lot of money.

seenitB4
80934
Points
seenitB4 07/18/13 - 08:55 am
2
1
nocnoc

You remind me of friends on Willis Foreman...they have chained their farm equip to heavy logs in the ground...yaknow --to keep them from walking off at night...oh what a wonderful world this is..

seenitB4
80934
Points
seenitB4 07/18/13 - 08:57 am
3
2
wow ctyman

You said...

I have no problem if 90% of the articles/media coverage related to crime is being reported on Richmond County, but 90% the positive stories better include the area too.

How much time are you giving them to heave ho?? hahaha

Jake
31592
Points
Jake 07/18/13 - 10:43 am
3
0
Daily Life

"I want to see the additional coverage related to the daily life in South Augusta, Harrisburg, Blythe, Laney Walker, Olde Town, Midtown, Waters Edge, Summerville, Hephzibah, Forest Hills, West Augusta, Mcbean, Southwest Augusta, CBD, Medical District, etc."

In McBean today, Mrs Watkins made a killer pitcher of iced tea which she shared with her neighbor Mrs Bowman while they had a lunch of biscuits, and okra-tomato stew with rice. Later they sat on the porch and fanned themselves with funeral parlor fans and talked about purchasing fabrics.

Meanwhile, in Harrisburg, Mr Shank suffered a ruptured spleen while attempting to dislodge a Buck knife from said area. He did seem to enjoy the ride through the CBD on his way to the Medical District, though.

nocnoc
38184
Points
nocnoc 07/18/13 - 04:48 pm
0
0
Regarding my older car comment - Vote down

Is our habitual thumbs downer a part-time car thief?
Or, just upset I made my car too hard steal by someone
not wanting to do honest work for a living?

nocnoc
38184
Points
nocnoc 07/18/13 - 04:54 pm
1
0
Jake - Some South side news

Today Billy Bob was testing out his nu shotgun hunting Boars and accidentally nail one of Farmer Daves Sows.

Farmer Dave is planning a BBQ Friday night Y'all come.
This ones on Billy Bob☺.
Remember BYOB is the rules.

Farmer Dave will be the designated driver and has his tractor and Hay Trailer hooked up. Please pass out as close to the trailer as possible.

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