By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – “Grand theft auto” is a popular video game but it is an increasingly unpopular crime. Statistics show auto thefts are on the decline, nationally and locally.

As recently as 2007, Philadelphia had more than 11,000 car thefts. Last year, that figure was down to 6,400, and this year is on track to be even lower. Police say they’ve adopted strategies that have lowered many categories of crime but Lt. John Stanford says new ignition systems, locking devices and tracking services are helping.

“Technology is evolving so quickly,” Standord said. “It takes even the car thieves a little while to catch up.”

Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery Counties have seen similar declines– from about 1,000 car thefts five years ago to about 600 last year.

But Jenny Robinson of Triple A says car owners should not be lulled into a false sense of security.

“Half the cars that were stolen were unlocked so it may sound extremely obvious but make sure those doors are locked,” Robinson said. “Don’t leave a running vehicle unattended.”


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