Tulsa's auto theft rate up

Wednesday, April 11th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Another one of those infamous, national lists is out, and unfortunately Tulsa is moving in the wrong direction. This time it's auto thefts.

KOTV's Sean Mossman explains what it may mean for consumers. There were about 200 more car thefts in the year 2000 than the year before. That may not seem like much, but it vaulted Tulsa from 63rd nationally to 45th, and a rise like that usually means larger insurance bills. "They stick a screwdriver up underneath this and pry it out and all they have to do is poke the lock in there and it flips the lock open." Bill Parsons knows just about every way a thief can get into a parked car.

He's seen hundreds of recovered cars come through the impound lot at Storey Wrecker in Tulsa. Most of them in pieces, a result of time spent in an illegal chop shop. "They busted one just down around the Coweta area and there was something like sixty vehicles we took out of there." Parsons says he wasn't surprised when he heard Tulsa's stolen car rate went up again in 2000. The city ranks 45th, just behind St. Louis, Orlando and Washington DC. While nationally, Accords and Camry's still top the list of most stolen vehicles.

Storey Wrecker says here in Tulsa, the trend seems to be moving towards the theft of pickup trucks. It's a trend that local insurance agent Vaughn Graham says he sees as well. Grahams says it's all about demand. "Whatever cars are popular and hard to get parts for, that's what will be stolen the most."

As for what Tulsa's new ranking will mean for insurance customers. "The portion of the premium that they pay for their theft coverage of the unit and physical damage/collision is probably going to increase." That's right, higher insurance bills. And if Bill Parsons continues to see more stolen cars in his impound yard, the bills could continue to increase. Graham says the new report won't mean drastic increases in insurance rates, but there will still be some.

Consumers will most likely see the difference when they renew their policy, several months down the road.