Wednesday, January 17, 2024

More on Portland Motor Vehicle Theft Data

As mentioned in my previous review of 2023 South Portland crime data, the category that stands out the most in recent data is Motor Vehicle Theft. This is not unique to South Portland; it is consistent with trends across Portland and across the country.  Axios wrote about the national car theft trend in early 2023 and in July declared it was skyrocketing.

Oregon is tracking with the US-wide Motor Vehicle Theft trend as reported by the FBI Crime Data below, though well below the US rate. 

Diving into the PPB Stolen Vehicle data for 2023 here, and sure enough, Kia and Hyundai top the list. 10 of the top 10 car models stolen in Portland are Kia or Hyundai, highlighting the widespread impact of the Kia Boyz Tiktok video that taught viewers how to steal the cars with just a screwdrive and a USB cable, and invited the viral trend. 

The South Portland data set is similar, with 6 of the top 10 most stolen models being Kia and Hyundai. 95% of these have been recovered to date.

In addition there is some detail on the time and day of theft, and model year of vehicle: 

Long story short, you don't want to be a 2017 Kia or Hyundai left unattended from 6pm-midnight.

I mentioned previously that Portland restarted up a task force to tackle auto theft (and another aimed at retail crime) in May 2023.  Recently, DA Mike Schmidt commented on this Jeff-alytics article that the new enforcement initiative and algorithms for stopping cars are contributing to a decline in Portland in 2023. The Portland numbers have been decidedly lower in the second half of the year. 

The automotive manufacturers have also rolled out anti-theft software updates to address the vulnerability. Judging by varied reports across Reddit and other forums, it appears these have had mixed results.

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