Auto Theft

Michael Cherbonneau and Richard Wright

in The Oxford Handbook of Crime and Public Policy

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199844654
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbook in Criminology & Criminal Justice

 Auto Theft

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  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Property Crime
  • Crime Prevention


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This article reviews our current knowledge about automobile theft. It defines crime and outlines its prevalence. It further examines the social and economic consequences of auto theft and deals with patterns of auto theft in the United States and elsewhere. Auto theft is found to be an activity of greater salience among the socially advantaged. It moves on with the discussion of forms of motor vehicle theft, including various types of offenders and offender motivations. It includes discussion about victim and offender characteristics, correlates of victimization risk, and types of vehicles stolen and motor vehicle theft offenders. Finally, it examines the ways of controlling auto theft, concluding with a discussion of policy-relevant issues and directions for future research.

Keywords: automobile theft; offender motivations; victimization risk; policy-relevant issues; future research

Article.  12675 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Property Crime ; Crime Prevention

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