Study: Michigan ranks highest in US for certain crimes

Study: Michigan ranks highest in US for certain crimes

A new study analyzing social media activity showed Michigan topped the nation in car theft.

A new study has ranked Michigan as the No. 1 state in the country for car theft, according to Fox 2 Detroit.

These thefts do not come without a cost. Michigan drivers pay an average of $7,161 per year for full-coverage insurance – 270% more than the national average and close to double the next most expensive state.  A recent study from ScrapCarComparison  attributes Michigan’s high rates to the state’s “no-fault law,” saying,  “Over the past decade, 45% of all auto insurance losses in Michigan were no-fault losses. That’s significantly more than the 16% of average total losses that no-fault losses account for across the U.S.”  The state also has a high percentage of uninsured drivers, more than 25%, which also raises insurance rates.

And Michiganers are talking about it. That study analyzed over 200,000 tweets from Twitter using the social media analysis tool Octoparse. The total number of tweets that mentioned keywords such as “car was stolen” in countries and cities around the world, were sorted from highest to lowest to reveal the locations with the most car thefts. The study did not list how long it monitored the tweets.

Michigan drivers made 2,173 tweets relating to car theft.

According to Detroit police, auto theft is up by 24% since 2021. On average, Grand Rapids reported an average of more than two cars stolen each day over the two-year period, while Kalamazoo averaged 1.5 per day.

Police and other experts say the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in 2020 helped fuel the initial spike. Grand Rapids’ auto thefts were up 166% in 2021 compared to 2018. In Kalamazoo, the increase was 63%. 

But concerningly, local officials have not been able to curb the rise in thefts. 

One of the most dramatic instances occurred earlier this summer, when a Ford factory in Dearborn, Michigan, became the latest victim of a high-end heist, with thieves getting away with more than $1 million in Ford trucks from a secured storage lot. 

In other cases, thieves are only stealing parts right off parked cars. But these thefts are also sky-rocketing to concerning levels. State Farm Insurance recently reported that catalytic converter theft has increased 492% in Michigan since 2019.

Among the most dramatic increases, Kent County reported that catalytic converter thefts have tripled. In Shiawassee County, 40 miles northeast of Lansing, a dial-a-ride bus service was suspended after catalytic converters were stolen from vehicles. 

The reason for uptick in thefts, according to Wayne Moody, director of automotive service technology at Northwestern Michigan College, is that a catalytic converter can be worth anywhere from $75 to up to $600 or $700 as scrap metal, sometimes even more. It’s very little risk for a large gain. 

To keep your car safe, police recommend parking in well-lit areas, near other cars. Avoid parking between tall trucks and vans, as carjackers may hide behind these vehicles.

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