Rockford Car Thefts Up; State Down

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We should feel safe parking our cars in front of our home, but recent statistics show we need to start being more protective.

While the state average is down 3 percent, auto thefts in
Rockford are getting worse.

The Northern Illinois Auto Theft Task Force says car owners are simply being dumb. They're leaving doors unlocked, valuable items in plain view, and even hiding spare keys in the car. So by car owners making it that much easier, Winnebago and Boone Counties are ranking high in the auto theft charts.

354 cars were stolen in Rockford this year. That's 87-percent of the total of cars stolen in Winnebago and Boone Counties combined. Rockford has gone up 11 percent since last year.

But Winnebago and Boone Counties appear to be getting better. The Northern Illinois Auto Theft Task Force says 407 cars were stolen this year. That's a 14-and-a-half percent decrease from last year.

"People are still leaving their keys in their cars maybe not in the ignition but maybe under the seat or under the floor mat and thieves know this," says Jim Kerns, inspector for N.I.A.T.T.F.

If your car was stolen, you have a good chance of getting it back. So far 314 cars have been recovered this year. But Inspector Kerns tells me most of them are returned in bad condition, such as electronics missing along with other auto parts.

Winnebago County ranks third in the state for having the most auto thefts. The Northern Illinois Auto Theft Task Force says Chrysler trucks are the most common stolen vehicle in the area.