Upward Trend In Auto Theft Since Start Of Pandemic

Vehicle owners nationwide are starting to see an unforeseen consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic: massive increases in auto theft.

In Chattanooga alone, over 1,200 vehicles have been reported stolen as of September 30th, according to data from CPD. That compares to just 671 cases during the same period in 2019.

Auto Crimes Investigator Nick Hayes says vehicles left unattended for longer periods of time due to widespread coronavirus lockdowns is a leading cause for the surge in crime, calling it a crime of opportunity.

“With vehicles sitting at the house more, people are leaving valuables in their vehicles in open view, and leaving keys and stuff in their cars because they just might not be thinking about it,” says Hayes.

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