Burnout

My family has been the victim of motor vehicle theft twice -- once a 20-year-old Toyota truck (recovered) and once a 15-year-old Renault Alliance (we felt sorry that thief). Motor vehicle theft is a crime that's on an uptick according to the FBI, despite tremendous advancements in anti-theft technology. And although airports possess a reputation of having "cameras and security everywhere", the Denver International Airport and their associated rental car agencies have a profound issue with automotive theft, including one staff member getting run over in the past month.

Denver International Airport is already on the Fee Detective's naughty list for charging airport taxes at the airport and all rental locations within 20 miles of the airport. Likewise, the Fee Detective is probably on the airport's persona non grata list for writing about the scheme ... Yet one would think that in exchange for millions of dollars in tax revenue, some of those funds might be intended to help the airport vendors like rental car companies who have experienced persistent thefts. And the problem isn't short-term -- it's very much a long-term issue. As the Denver Chief of Police states:

"Unfortunately there is a criminal element that is out that is taking advantage of the physical environment and their practices.”

We're not certain whether the Chief was not-so-subtly throwing the airport rental car companies or the airport police bureau under the bus. Probably both. And while media noted November 2017 had reflected an increase in car thefts, it's not a November 2017 problem. How does 132 rental car thefts in 2016 sound? So the 20 stolen in November 2017* has the full-year (2017) totals still trending below last year's "pace" of car thefts.

* Fox's graphic incorrectly says 6 + 5 + 2 + 5 + 1 + 1 = 9 ...

Still, the airport rental car agencies have reported more than 100 rental car thefts annually and when a major theft occurs between 2 and 3 times per week over an extended period of time, it's clearly not an isolated incident! Rental cars get stolen from DEN more frequently than the Lucchese family (if FBI recordings are to be believed) robbed cargo operators at JFK! The FBI got involved with the cargo thefts at JFK decades ago. What happens at Denver International Airport? According to the local Fox affiliate:

Airport officials said they meet regularly with police and rental car companies to share information to establish best practices aimed at preventing future theft.

"Sharing information" seems to be an ineffective fix and the real November 2017 problem is that no arrests have been made of the 20 stolen vehicles. And that major failure is both on the police and the rental car companies themselves; all of the major rental car companies reserve the right to monitor and locate cars suspected to be stolen if the vehicle's equipped with the capability.

If I were an executive at AvisBudget, Denver would likely be the next connected car lab. Yet ideally, officials in Denver figure out a way to prevent felony rental car theft, rather than seek to recover vehicles after they are stolen (such as this use of OnStar more than two years after a vehicle was stolen). After all, the theft of a few hundred vehicles that cost more than $30k each is real money.

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