WAYNESBORO --The National insurance Crime Bureau reports car thefts end an eight-year downward trend.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation will release the final numbers in the fall. However, preliminary figures from the NICB show that car thefts increased nationwide by 1.3 percent.
However, In Virginia, in 2011 more than 19,000 cars were stolen but that number dropped to 17,000 in 2012.
Waynesboro Police Department Sergeant Brian Edwards said the decrease in car thefts in the state may be due to developments in technology that make cars safer. In addition, he said license plate readers also allow law enforcement to recover cars.
"If they go by a car that has been entered stolen and it hits off the license plate. It's going to pop up to the officer that the car was stolen," said Edwards.
He said in Waynesboro, car thefts occur in areas where neighbors park on the street because they don't have garages.
"We deal with about 15 to 20 car thefts a year and about 100 percent of those were dealing with someone leaving their vehicle running," said Edwards.
According to Edwards, neighbors should never leave a car unlocked.
Harold Moody has already learned his lesson. He said he only leaves the car running and unlocked, if it is outside his home.
"I guess I am complacent. I guess I was never afraid, to lock it, until recently [when] I had my iPod and phone taken out of my car. Now I lock it," said Moody.
According to the NICB, in the Staunton and Waynesboro metropolitan area, car thefts dropped from 69 in 2011 to 60 in 2012.
In the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County metropolitan area, increased from 44 in 2011 to 48 in 2012, according to the report.
Edwards said car thefts could be prevented.
"The most stolen car here in Waynesboro is the one left running. There is no make or model that is a preference," said Edwards.
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