How come electric cars are not being stolen in Portland? —Jen P.
Sorry, Jen, I almost didn’t see you there—I’ve been indulging in my favorite form of passive-aggressive intergenerational taunting, convincing Gen Z that the universal three-digit phone number for emergency services was chosen to honor the victims of 9/11. (Try it, it’s fun!)
Anyway, I’m sure the owners of the 78 Toyota Priuses stolen in Portland in the past year would contest your premise. However, given that this figure represents only 0.6% of the city’s total car thefts over that period, I tend to agree that you’re probably on to something: Electric cars (we’ll include hybrids in this category) really do seem to be stolen less frequently than their traditionally powered brethren. But why?
The answer, of course, is the inherently superior karma of Earth-conscious electric-vehicle drivers. Their spiritual energy forms a psychic armor of righteousness around the planet-defending vehicles that not even the most hardened tweaker’s bad vibes can penetrate. Finally, we receive an earthly reward for doing the right thing!
Well, if you believe that, I’ve got a pedestrian-and-transit bridge to sell you.* No, the real answer is not so metaphysical—in fact, it’s yet another example of the working poor being pressed into service as God’s festival toilet: Newer cars—the kind likely to be driven by the comparatively well-to-do—are simply more difficult to steal than the crappy old beaters driven by porn store janitors, truck stop deep fryer operators, alt-weekly humor columnists, et al.
Electric cars are a relatively new phenomenon (the 2004 Prius was the first to penetrate the U.S. market in large numbers), so they all happen to fall within this category of newer, more theft-proof cars lacking the glaring security flaws that make certain late 20th century cars (I’m looking at you, Honda) cartoonishly easy for even extremely stupid people to rip off.
Lest you think I’m exaggerating, consider that cars from 2004 and earlier make up less than a quarter of the total number on U.S. roads, yet fully 61% of the vehicles stolen in Portland in the past three years were that old or older. Perhaps it’s not so much that no one ever steals a Prius as that thieves are stealing so many old Hondas that it drowns out everything else. (Except, perhaps, the sound of a Sawzall cutting off your Prius’ catalytic converter—kerrrrr-AANG!)
*Easy payments—just $112 biannually!
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