The National Insurance Crime Board (NICB) recently released a detailed forecast report related to luxury vehicle thefts across the U.S. The report revealed a few surprising details about auto theft. One that’s not so surprising is that car thieves do indeed love luxury automobiles.
The report focused on luxury cars between model years 2010 and 2012 and revealed a top ten list dominated by famous luxury makers Mercedes-Benz, with the C Class taking top spot followed closely by the BMW 3 Series.
Mercedes-Benz was also represented in the top 10 by the E Class and S Class models while BMW’s 5 series made the list as well. American cars in the top ten included Cadillac CTS and Lincoln MKZ. Japanese luxury cars in the top ten included Infiniti G Series, Acura TSX, and Lexus IS.
Only thefts entered into the NICB database are included in the report. Among those included in the report, compact luxury cars seemed to be the most attractive automobiles to thieves, representing 49 percent of luxury car thefts. Mid-size luxury cars accounted for 39.6 percent of luxury car thefts, leaving premium luxury vehicles with 11.4 percent of the thefts.
Don’t let these numbers be misleading, though. While the lowest percentage of luxury cars stolen belonged to the premium luxury cars, they also represented the highest percentage of vehicles unrecovered in the aftermath of the theft, with 34.4 percent remaining unrecovered. Compact luxury cars were next with 14.3 percent of the vehicles stolen remaining and unrecovered, and 13.5 percent of mid-sized luxury cars remain unrecovered.
One interesting note to consider when planning a car purchase, especially for those considering luxury vehicles, is that New Jersey, Florida, and New York have the highest rates of unrecovered luxuryvehicles in the aftermath of a theft incident.
Some U.S. states seem to have bigger problems with luxury car thefts than other states. The top five states for luxury vehicle thefts from 2009-2012 are listed below.
California – 1,063 thefts
Florida – 674 thefts
New Jersey – 453 thefts
New York – 404 thefts
Michigan/Texas – 230/229 thefts respectively
Luxury auto thefts in California account for 24.2 percent of all thefts of luxury vehicles while the top ten states for thefts represent nearly 81 percent of all thefts of luxury vehicles.
Another interesting caveat is that while California represented the highest statewide occurrences of luxury auto theft, among CBSAs (Core-based statistical areas). The state of California, as a whole, fairs slightly better with the New York – New Jersey – Pennsylvania CBSA taking top spot with 809 luxury auto thefts followed by the Los Angeles- Long Beach – Santa Ana stretch of California weighing in with only 491 thefts of luxury autos.
The message here, though, is not to avoid buying luxury vehicles. The real message is to find new ways to protect your investment, such as GPS tracking devices, which not only act as deterrents to thieves, but also aid in the faster recovery of cars that have been stolen.
Keeping your fleet of vehicles in excellent condition saves money, improves productivity, and keeps your drivers and customers happy. The most basic step is to set up a schedule of preventive maintenance and the easiest way to do this is with the use of GPS fleet maintenance software.
Here are four key ways you can optimize your maintenance efforts.
Way #1. Reduce the amount of driving.
Less driving means less wear and tear. This translates into fewer dollars spent on repairs and labor costs. The vehicle will last longer, so it needs replacement at longer intervals.
The best way to minimize the amount of driving needed is by using GPS fleet management software. It helps by:
- Providing accurate directions for drivers, reducing extra miles because a driver gets lost
- Routing vehicles in the most efficient manner. This helps the driver plan his trip to avoid roadwork delays, commuter traffic and accident slowdowns.
- Monitoring unauthorized use of the vehicle. If it is out on the street outside normal hours, you get a report that helps you identify cases of using the vehicle to run personal errands on company time or driving the vehicle home for lunch. Tracking the use of a vehicle after hours also helps to reduce the chance of theft.
- Analyzing driving patterns, which helps to limit unnecessary use of the vehicle.
Way #2. Track emission levels.
If the emissions on a truck are consistently high, it means the engine needs work. The sooner the problem is fixed, the less expensive it will be. Fleet managers who use a diagnostics-based system to spot engine problems report lower overall vehicle costs for maintenance.
At the same time, you can track idle time, a prime cause of wasted fuel. It causes wear on the engine and increases the cost of maintenance. By monitoring idle times, you can set thresholds that pinpoint vehicles with excessive amounts. You can set overall goals for drivers and teach them how to reduce their idle levels.
Way #3. Use automatic reminders for maintenance.
With fleet maintenance software, you can set up reminders for oil changes, tune-ups, tire rotation, brake checks and other standard upkeep.
The software automatically optimizes the schedule to reduce driver downtime. Diagnostic alerts let you fix problems early, avoiding a vehicle breakdown with all its attendant frustrations.
Way #4. Better accounting.
You get regular reports on each vehicle, letting you get a comprehensive overview of the condition of each truck. And it is done electronically so you aren’t awash in paperwork.
The reports also accurately track labor and repair work done, so you avoid duplication. You save money by keeping a firm handle on the work done for each vehicle. Many software programs let you create purchase orders and track payments.
GPS fleet tracking is the ultimate fleet management and maintenance system. Call us today toll free at 1-888-544-0494 for a demo. In as little as 5 minutes, we can demonstrate what the system can do for you, your drivers, and your fleet.
A doctoral candidate in Zurich has found a new way to use GPS trackers: track local hedgehogs and follow their nightly routes.
Sonja Braaker, who is a doctoral candidate at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, is at the head of a hedgehog study. Braaker wanted to learn more about hedgehogs, particularly how the nocturnal animals spend their time at night.
It wasn’t easy, but she was able to track a total of 40 hedgehogs, each with a GPS tracker that had very limited battery power.
For the study, she began searching outdoor areas of Zurich where she thought hedgehogs would roam. This included dozens of parks, lawns, streets, and gardens. When she saw one, she would have to move fast to pick up the animal.
Hedgehogs tend to freeze momentarily when someone sees them, so they would stop long enough for her to grab them. She cut a small portion of their spine by using scissors, which is a part of the animal that does not cause them pain. She then glued a GPS tracker to this area and set it free.
Since the particular GPS tracking device she used only lasted 8 hours before needing a new battery, she needed to follow the tracker to the animal before time ran out so she could put in new batteries. Braaker admitted that many nights she would be wandering the streets for hours tracking down a hedgehog.
There were others who claimed the hedgehogs in front of their property were their pets and they refused to let her track them. Others were concerned that she was a thief who was going to rob their houses, since she wasn’t too afraid to walk slowly and quietly around neighborhood streets.
In Zurich, they have what are known as habitat connectivity; these are corridors that let animals go from one habitat to another within the city. Braaker and her research team were interested to know exactly where the hedgehogs were going at night, and how they were getting there. By the end of the study, they successfully tracked 40 hedgehogs and saw the pathways they took and where they avoided.
Through her results, she found that hedgehogs tended to avoid soccer fields and highways, but would be glad to travel along city streets. They seemed to prefer walking across asphalt as opposed to gravel. She also now has a map of the pathways they would take most often through the city streets.
While hedgehogs are usually in rural and country environments, there are many of them now living in city streets just like Zurich. As Braaker pointed out with her study, they still have plenty of paths to take at night for food, shelter, and activity.