Vehicle Theft:

Data Bases for Implementing and Assessing the 1984 Vehicle Theft Act

GGD-87-59BR: Published: May 5, 1987. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the vehicle theft and recovery databases available to implement the Motor Vehicle Theft Law Enforcement Act.

GAO noted that the act required the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to obtain vehicle theft and recovery data in identifying vehicles with high theft rates, and take any necessary actions to improve the accuracy, reliability, and timeliness of the data. GAO found that: (1) DOT resonably used National Crime Information Center (NCIC) data to determine which high-theft vehicles were subject to the act's marking requirements; (2) the NCIC vehicle file contained 30-percent more entries per year than the National Automobile Theft Bureau (NATB) database; and (3) although NATB and certain insurance companies reported data on the number and condition of recovered vehicles, NCIC did not report on the condition of recovered vehicles. GAO also found that: (1) an unknown proportion of vehicle entries in NCIC did not reflect actual vehicle thefts, but lost, stolen, or borrowed vehicles; (2) local agencies did not always follow NCIC procedures to identify invalid thefts; and (3) NCIC and NATB computer programs determined the validity of vehicle identification numbers entered into the systems.

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