Close up car thief hand holding screwdriver tamper yank and glove black stealing automobile trying door handle to see if vehicle is unlocked trying to break into inside.

EVs Are Stolen Less Than ICEs During Near Record Crime Year – But That Doesn’t Make Them Safer

A report from Motor Trend states that vehicle thefts have been on the rise in the United States as of late. However, most car thieves are going after more prominent Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) automobiles like pickup trucks and SUVs, not electric vehicles (EVs.)

Grand Theft Auto Is On The Rise

Non-profit National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released a report last July that revealed Americans reported around half a million cars stolen in the first half of 2023. Their report says, “Approximately one motor vehicle is stolen every 32 seconds, which adds up to more than one million vehicles stolen last year.”

That’s a two percent increase over the number of thefts Americans reported in 2022, which Motor Trend reports comes close to setting a record for grand theft auto crimes in the United States. They also report that the average number of car thefts in the US during those six months was 80,000 per month. May was the peak, with nearly 88,000 car thefts, with California being the state with the most thefts, accounting for almost a fifth of the country’s stolen vehicles during the first half of 2023.

However, a Highway Loss Data Institute report shows that criminals largely avoid stealing all-electric vehicles, with no EV cracking the country’s top ten most stolen cars. Why is that?

Technology Plays A Role

Motor Trend’s report speculates that contemporary car thieves are looking for vehicles they can sell as used cars around the globe. It means that car thieves need to consider the market demands of the country they plan on selling to. If that market does not have the infrastructure to support EVs, there won’t be a demand for them. Hence, there’s no incentive to sell them there.

They also note that modern technology has interconnected EVs at an unprecedented level, making them infinitely more accessible to track, unlike older ICEs. Does this mean EVs are safer vehicles for consumers to purchase? Not quite.

The Dark Side of Interconnected Tech

While state-of-the-art technology is allowing automakers to do extraordinary things, like over-the-air updates or potentially send alerts about upcoming roadside accidents, the danger of modern cars being so interconnected is that they expose their owners to many cybersecurity risks.

EV charging stations are particularly vulnerable to hackers because of their digital payment systems. It’s a significant risk because the cloud connects as many as 48,000 public charging stations in the US. EV charging networks in the US, Russia, and the UK have all experienced cybersecurity breaches over the past few years, with a 2021 attack by Ukrainian hackers allegedly stealing up to 900 gigabytes of data from Russia’s most significant EV charging network.

We hope that by the time EV infrastructure is widespread worldwide, automakers will have found new ways to deter car thefts while also taking measures to amp up cybersecurity for their interconnected charging networks.

Author: Jarret Hendrickson

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