“Not so difficult to steal”: car thefts increase in Portland

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“A 1996 Honda Civic, someone could steal it in about 15 seconds”

A driver in an automobile (KOIN, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Every day people walk into John Yeager’s store in Southeast Portland, Its distinctive, ask questions about their vehicle’s anti-theft equipment. This is because on average 30 cars are stolen every day in the city of Portland.

Car thieves strike most often in northeast and southeast Portland, police said. And even basic auto theft prevention tactics like parking in busy, well-lit areas don’t stop thieves.

Customers entering Distinctive Sound have either had their car broken into or their neighbor’s car, Yeager told KOIN 6 News. “A car with a factory alarm system on it isn’t that hard to steal, actually.”

Yeager said anyone can be a victim.

“A 1996 Honda Civic, someone could steal it in about 15 seconds. You get into a newer car and it takes a few more minutes to do it, ”he said. “But the technology they have access to now, like everyone else, is continually improving as cars protect themselves better.”

Four years ago, the number of most stolen vehicles in a month in Portland was 670. Last month, however, 903 vehicles were reported stolen – and Hondas remain the flagship model for thieves.

“Just about any Honda, it’s always been a big deal,” he said. “Ford pickups are really big right now. “

John Yeager of Distinctive Sound in Southeast Portland on October 12, 2021 (KOIN)

Statistics from the PPB show that on average more than one car has been stolen every hour in the past 3 months.

Yeager said there are cost effective ways to protect your vehicle.

“I would start with just a starter alarm where it would monitor your car’s door triggers and kill the starter,” he said.

Alarm systems can usually be installed in most cars in about 2 hours and start at around $ 250 for equipment and labor. There are other options, including a device with GPS tracking.

“I have it on my truck and my wife’s car,” he said.

There’s also a device called a kill switch that starts at around $ 65. “They’re foolproof as long as they’re well hidden and whoever steals your car doesn’t know where it is.”

Police officials said so far this year around 88% of stolen cars have been recovered. But that means hundreds of cars are never seen by their rightful owners again.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said it has an 11-person unit dealing with these crimes with between 30 and 50 car theft cases on their desk.


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