Special Report

Utica, NY, Had the Largest Increase in Car Thefts During the COVID Pandemic

This article was written with the assistance of A.I. technology, and has been edited and fact-checked by Melly Alazraki.

Utica-Rome, New York, had the largest increase in car thefts during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a National Insurance Crime Bureau report. A total of 353 cars and trucks were reported stolen in the metro area in 2021, a 161.5% increase from 2019, the year before the pandemic broke out, when 135 vehicles were reported stolen.

Nationwide, motor vehicle thefts rose by 17% over the same period to 932,329 in 2021, or 281 automobile thefts per 100,000 people, the NICB’s report 2021 Hot Spots Vehicle Theft Report shows. While Utica had the nation’s leading increase in car theft, its car theft rate in 2021 was 121.6 per 100,000 people – only the 285th highest of 384 U.S. metro areas and lower than the national average.

The national surge in vehicle theft was driven by certain cities in particular, where reported cases of automobile theft surged by anywhere from 50% to over 100% compared to 2019. New York state is home to a disproportionate share of these places, with nine of its 13 metropolitan areas reporting a 50% or more surge in auto theft, including Utica.

Like Utica, many of the metro areas with nation leading increases in vehicle theft still have a theft rate below the national average.

Click here to see which American cities had the biggest increases in car theft during the pandemic.

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