Jackson Leads Nation in Car Thefts

You wouldn't normally compare Jackson to cities like Phoenix or Miami. But when it comes to auto theft, all three rank among the ten worst in the nation. The National Insurance Crime Bureau released the information which rates our Capitol as the ninth city with the highest vehicle theft.

One person who knows the statistic all too well is Kris Lee. His white Pontiac was stolen this week, "My wife came down screaming... it disappeared it disappeared... our car." Lee isn't surprised anymore that Jackson ranks 9th in the nation for auto theft.

The Jackson Police Department attributes that partly to the large number of older vehicles in the Jackson area. "We feel like one of the reasons is because of the older vehicles are much easier to take. They are also using parts off of the older vehicles, general motors vehicles, the early 1980's, 1990's vehicles," said Robert Graham, Jackson Police Dept. Spokesman.

Jackson is also the biggest city in the state; more than 180,000 people call it home. That population also swells during the day from the people who work in the metro area, which is another reason for higher auto theft.

Jackson Police said told WLOX that whenever a city has such a large concentration of vehicles, that creates opportunity for the individual who is an auto thief. And so that's where the vehicles are and that's where they go to take the vehicles.

Police also says criminals can steal a car in a matter of minutes. All they do is break your window, pop the lock, and they're in. So what can you do to prevent your car from being stolen? "You've got to lock your vehicle. You've got to roll the windows up. You've got to park in well lighted areas. Number 2 is an alarm. When the alarm goes off, the criminal is going to leave your vehicle alone," said Graham.

Even though Jackson is in the top ten, the number of car thefts is declining. Jackson Police Department says there were 200 fewer car thefts last year compared to 1999.