Wednesday, Oct. 6

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Hot wheels numbers down 30,000 annually

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[OCT. 6, 2004]  CHICAGO -- The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority recently unveiled new statistics showing ongoing declines in the state's motor vehicle theft rate.

"Based on state police statistics released [Sept. 23] by the Illinois Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Council, I am pleased to announce that Illinois continues to win the battle against car theft," said Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The Illinois Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Council, an arm of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, reported that the rate of motor vehicle thefts decreased 7 percent between 2002 and 2003. The rate of motor vehicle theft in Cook County, where in 2003 nearly 75 percent of Illinois' motor vehicle thefts occurred, decreased 8 percent during that time.

Lori G. Levin, executive director of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, indicated that the long-term trend reflects even better news.

"Between 1991 and 2003, the rate of motor vehicle thefts in Illinois has declined 50 percent, and the number of stolen vehicles decreased from 75,642 to 45,262," she said. "This is a reduction of more than 30,000 vehicles annually and equates to a savings of nearly $204 million for the citizens of Illinois."
Using funds paid annually by auto insurance companies doing business in Illinois, the Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Council has expanded motor vehicle theft law enforcement by making grants that support multi-jurisdictional task forces, special investigative teams, training and other efforts throughout the state.

"The results of our concerted efforts are impressive," the governor said. "And on behalf of the citizens of Illinois, I applaud the authority, the council and their grantees for their hard work."

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According to the council, since 1991, funded grant programs have resulted in:

  • 17,577 criminal investigations initiated.
  • 32,078 audits of vehicle-related businesses.
  • 10,000 violation letters issued to audited businesses.
  • 9,295 arrests.
  • 3,579 convictions obtained.
  • 24,933 stolen vehicles recovered, worth nearly $186.7 million.

The council reports that the $72 million it has granted since its inception in 1991 has resulted in the recovery of approximately $391 million in stolen vehicles and reduced theft rates. This amounts to a return of more than $5 for every dollar paid into the fund by the insurance industry.

"The task forces, investigative teams and other programs have a proven history of successfully reducing motor vehicle theft while saving our state money," said Illinois State Police Director Larry G. Trent, who serves as chair of the 15-member council. "This program reflects a successful partnership between the insurance industry and the criminal justice system and one which continues to be effective at reducing motor vehicle theft in Illinois."

[News release from the
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority]

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