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Car thieves aren’t always targeting newer cars, statistics show



honda civic

If you think driving an older vehicle is going to make your car less attractive to car thieves, you may want to think again.

Many of the most stolen vehicle models in 2017 were at least a decade old, if not more, according to a new report from the California-based National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The Honda Civic was the top target for thieves nationwide in 2017, with 45,062 Civics reported stolen in 2017, and of those, the 1998 model year had the most thefts – 6,707 total, or roughly 15 percent of all Civics stolen. The second-most stolen car nationwide was the Honda Accord with 43,764 taken, and the 1997 model – a full two decades old – led all Accord thefts with 6,301 reported stolen.

Hondas are equally as coveted by thieves in New York State, according to the report. The Accord was the most stolen vehicle model last year, although the then-current 2017 model year had the most reported thefts. The Civic ranked second most stolen in the Empire State, with the 2000 model year being the most popular among thieves.

So, why are many car thieves targeting older cars instead of eyeing on new models? Frank Scafidi, director of Public Affairs for NICB, said it’s a combination of the popularity of those models and the less-advanced anti-theft technology in those vehicles.

“For years, Hondas and Toyotas have shared the most stolen title and a lot of it has to do with the sheer numbers of those vehicles produced and sold — and still operating — over the years,” he said. “More targets, more potential to get stolen, especially when drivers make it easy for thieves by leaving their cars running or leaving the keys in them.”

The introduction of smart keys in 1998 caused Honda thefts to drop substantially, Scafidi noted.

The age and relative lack of care an older car typically gets compared to a newer model also contributes to their popularity with car thieves, New York State Police said.

“By virtue of their age and the evolution of technology these vehicles have relatively basic ignition and electronic/auto theft prevention technology,” a statement provided to Newsday by the state police said. “As such, car thieves have figured out how to circumvent these and steal the vehicles.

Older vehicles are also less likely to be stored in garages, the state police statement said, where an owner’s newer vehicle is likely to reside, leaving the older vehicles on the street or in the driveway where thieves have a much easier time breaking into them.

With the improvement in anti-theft technology, the newer models are harder for thieves to target, and even old-school theft deterrents can help your vehicle from becoming a statistic, according to Scafidi.

“The smart key is in its 4th or 5th iteration and today, a vehicle equipped with keyless ignition cannot be hot-wired like older models,” he said. “And there are after-market security items available that provide even more protection and can be managed using a smartphone app. Even old favorites like ‘The Club’ are effective against a certain kind of auto thief.”

And if you don’t want to find your car stolen? The state police have some simple advice.

“Safeguard your belongings within the vehicle, especially the keys,” they said. “It is still common for people to leave vehicles unlocked with the keys or key fob in close proximity to the car.”


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9-year-old genius to graduate university




Laurent Simons

(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.

Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.

He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.

“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.

Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But Lydia has her own theory.

“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.

“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.

“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”

Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”

His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.

“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.

“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.

“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”

Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.

However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.

In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.

Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

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New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne




Lena Horne

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem




Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.

The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.

Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.

Father and son were both knocked through a gate.

The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.

One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.

McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.

McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.

Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.


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