Surveillance cameras captured a burglary suspect looking into the window of a vehicle in Lake Forest during a wave of thefts in December 2021. | LMCS File Photo

(The Center Square) – New laws are set to take effect in January that lawmakers say are aimed at addressing carjackings and car thefts in Illinois.

California experienced the highest number of stolen vehicles overall in 2021, with more than 200,000 vehicles taken.

The top five states for vehicular crime – California, Illinois, Florida, Colorado and Texas – accounted for 412,008 cars stolen.

Over 1,300 carjackings have occurred in the Chicago area this year.

There was a large spike in car thefts in Illinois this past summer with two models, Kia and Hyundai, the most at risk.

According to police, videos on social media explaining how to steal the cars appear to be at the center of a 767% increase in vehicle thefts.

One new law expands the offense of possession of burglary tools to include possession of a device that unlocks or starts a vehicle without possession of the key fob.

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The device can also capture a duplicate signal from a key fob to unlock or start a vehicle.

Another law that goes into effect provides grants and financial support to assist with the identification, apprehension and prosecution of car hijackers and the recovery of stolen vehicles.

Robert Passmore, department vice president of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, said the surge in vehicle thefts may lead to higher insurance rates, including for comprehensive coverage.

“The difference in cost might lead some people not to get it, but that’s what you would need to protect yourself if you’re concerned about your vehicle being stolen or having the catalytic converter stolen,” Passmore said.

A third law ensures those who are victims of a carjacking are not liable for violations, fees or other penalties as long as the vehicle owner files a police report in a timely manner.

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