Airbag Theft: Criminals In & Out In 25 Seconds

Windows are broken, wires are ripped, and you’re left with vehicles that can’t be driven without repair. But what exactly are thieves after? The airbags (and a quick profit, of course).

It’s too easy for thieves to yank an entire steering wheel out of a vehicle. Sounds a little crazy, right? Being able to force a steering wheel free. See for yourself – watch this person take less than 25 seconds to run away with one.

Admiral Insurance saw a 68% increase in airbag and steering wheel theft claims in 2021. This type of theft is unpredictable and can happen anywhere vehicles are parked including auto dealerships, used car lots, parking lots, rental lots and more.  This isn’t an isolated issue either, it’s happening across the country: 

  • Detroit, MI – Thieves on the hunt for valuable airbags broke into 18 cars at a single auto dealership.  

  • Montgomery County, MD – Over 90 airbags were reported stolen over a 4-month span. 
  • Troy, MI – Earlier this year, Police investigated steering wheel theft from 13 vehicles at an apartment complex. 

Why Airbags? 

The automotive industry did not escape the supply chain issues created during the COVID-19 pandemic. Factories battled production backlogs, leaving consumers needing parts that were not available, including airbags.  

Thieves began to capitalize on the low supply/high demand by doing what they do best, taking things that don’t belong to them and making money in the process. 

Airbags are compact and portable, which makes them easy to steal, resell, and reinstall. Unlike entire vehicles which can utilize GPS tracking technology, airbags aren’t easily traceable once stolen. This makes theft and resell that much easier. 

Thieves quickly became skilled at breaking windows and knowing exactly where to go in the vehicle to dismantle entire steering wheels and take off with them in seconds. 

They are certainly not concerned with the damage they leave behind – all they want are parts to resell. 

The price tag on a new airbag from a legitimate dealer can run upwards of $1,000 – whereas the price tag on the black market is between $50 and $200, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Add in supply chain issues and production backlogs, and those prices only increase.  

For thieves, it’s a quick and easy crime that can pay off fast, leaving your business left with shattered windows and damaged vehicles. 

Detect & Deter Airbag Theft Quickly 

This type of crime can be committed quickly. By the time you notice a vehicle is being broken into, it’s too late. The criminals are long gone. They bank on the idea that no one will have the time to intervene. Detection is certainly important, but with this type of theft, deterrence is key. 

Video surveillance paired with Remote Video Monitoring (RVM) is an around-the-clock crime deterrence solution that keeps watch over your business when you’re not around.  

Pro-Vigil’s smart video surveillance solution uses cameras powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect suspicious activity (e.g. a person jumping a fence after hours). Our team of virtual guards monitors these video feeds 24/7 and can take action when suspicious activity occurs. The best part? Pro-Vigil’s deterrence features include recorded announcements, sirens and bright flashing lights that send thieves running. 

Take control of your security strategy and keep airbags where they belong – in your vehicles! If you would like to learn more about how Pro-Vigil’s remote video monitoring can help deter airbag theft at your business, please contact us today

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