Unless car dealerships and the Chicago mob have a deal worked out, stupidity is the only culprit.
The most recent findings from the National Insurance Crime Bureau show that those new proximity key fobs that come standard on almost every modern car are doing the trick. So far, overall rates of car theft are down from their peak in 1992, but the thefts that do occur nowadays involve older cars without the tech or situations where careless owners leave said proximity keys inside the car. According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, the problem is widespread where you’d least expect it.
Perhaps it’s done for convenience, or maybe because key lockboxes have proven to be catastrophic failures in the past, but for one reason or another car dealerships and rental car agencies have a habit of leaving their cars unlocked with the keys inside. ”The biggest key with the vehicle thefts currently is having keys accessible,” said Sgt. Keith Blair of the Chicago Police Department's major auto theft unit. "At dealerships, what they're doing is they're burglarizing the dealership, they're entering, finding cars with keys in them and exiting the property with the vehicles they can get easiest with keys.” It may seem like a no-brainer to lock up a valuable and desirable asset like a car, but apparently that’s not the case.
The problem is so widespread that the Chicago City Council is considering rules that will force dealerships and rental car companies to lock up their car keys when closing at night. It’s not just for the good of the companies that own these cars, it’s because the stolen vehicles are typically used to commit other heinous crimes such as murders, drive-by shootings, drug deals, home invasions, armed robberies, and more. The Chicago Tribune reports that in some instances, an entire gang will descend on a dealership and steal multiple cars, up to 13 in one case, in order to sell, keep, or to turn each car into the perfect untraceable accomplice for their latest wave of crime.
For the greater good, and to preserve the overstock of cars that’s causing used car prices to dwindle (much to our delight), it’s time for these vulnerable parties to step up to the plate and save their own collections of cars. Unless these car dealerships are working with the Chicago mob to let them take free cars and get insurance money out of it, this is a problem that should not be happening.