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Engine immobilizers curb car thefts


WINNER: Tampa's bay

A survey shows the bay's water quality is as good now as it was in the 1950s, contributing $22 billion to area economy.

LOSER: Florida drivers

The state ranks third worst in the country in the annual expense of driving a car, because of high insurance and repair bills.

Stealing cars is harder than it used to be, less lucrative and more likely to land you in jail. As such, people have found other things to do. The most important factor is a technological advance: engine immobilizer systems, adopted by manufacturers in the late 1990s. These make it essentially impossible to start a car without the ignition key, which contains a microchip. Criminals generally have not been able to circumvent the technology or make counterfeit keys. Instead, criminals have stuck to stealing older cars. You can see this in the pattern of thefts of America's most stolen car, the Honda Accord. About 54,000 Accords were stolen in 2013, 84 percent of them from model years 1997 or earlier, according to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a trade group for auto insurers and lenders. Not coincidentally, Accords started to be sold with immobilizers in the 1998 model year. New York Times

Looking ahead: Consumer Price Index comes out Tuesday.

Engine immobilizers curb car thefts 08/15/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 15, 2014 6:48pm]
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