Increase in car thefts over the past two years

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 10:55 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - According to AAA Insurance, the number of car thefts has been on the rise. AAA’s most recent data comes from 2020 and shows that during that year the number of car thefts around the country was at the highest level in over a decade.

“In South Dakota in 2020 there were more than 2,100 vehicles reported throughout the state and that was a 30% increase from the year before,” said Shawn Steward, AAA South Dakota Spokesperson.

In Sioux Falls, that trend continued into this year.

“The last year we saw a pretty big increase in the number of stolen cars that we had and that really just follows the national trend,” said Officer Sam Clemens, Sioux Falls Police Department.

Most car thefts occur due to opportunity and the best way to keep your car from being stolen is to lock it up.

“It seems really simple but the best thing people can do is take keys with them, I’d say probably 90% of the cars that we have stolen in Sioux Falls, the keys are left in it,” said Clemens.

During the winter it’s important to warm your car up before using it, but make sure when you do keep an eye on it.

“We do see a number of cars that have been left running that end up being stolen, we’ve seen it out front of people’s houses, we’ve seen people that run into a gas station and leave their car running because it’s cold,” said Clemens.

It’s also a good idea to keep valuables out of your car or at least out of sight and keep your car where suspicious actions would be noticed.

“If you can park your vehicle in a garage or in a well-lit area, that just makes it a little more difficult for someone looking to take off with your car,” said Steward.

Not only can having your car stolen be expensive, finding a new ride can be just as much of a problem.

“There’s not a lot of new cars out there available on car lots and used cars at a premium price right now that’s just another burden that you would have to bear if your vehicle was lost or needed to be replaced,” said Steward.

In South Dakota, the top reported stolen vehicles are pick-up trucks. If you have your vehicle stolen, the first thing you should do is report it to the police, so it can be put into their national database.

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