How come electric cars aren’t stolen in Portland?

Why don’t electric cars get stolen in Portland? —Just P.

Sorry, Jen, I almost didn’t see you there – I’ve indulged in my favorite form of passive-aggressive intergenerational taunting, convincing Gen Z that the universal three-digit emergency services phone number 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 over the past year would dispute your premise. However, given that this figure only represents 0.6% of the city’s total car thefts during that period, I agree you’re probably on to something: electric cars (we’ll include hybrids in this category) really do seem less more stolen than their traditionally powered brethren. But why?

The answer, of course, is the inherently superior karma of earth-conscious EV drivers. Their spiritual energy forms a psychic armor of righteousness around the planet-defending craft that even the most hardened tweaker’s bad vibes cannot penetrate. Finally we get 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 isn’t so metaphysical – in fact, it’s just another example of the working poor being forced to serve as God’s festival toilet : newer cars — the kind likely driven by the relatively well-heeled — are just harder to steal than the crappy old beaters driven by porn store janitors, truck stop chip shop operators, alt-weekly humor columnists, et al.

Electric cars are a relatively new phenomenon (the 2004 Prius was the first to break into the U.S. market in large numbers), so they all fall into this category of newer, more theft-resistant cars without the glaring security flaws that make certain late cars 20th century (I’m looking at you, Honda) cartoonishly easy for even extremely stupid people to scam.

Lest you think I’m exaggerating, consider that cars from 2004 and earlier make up less than a quarter of the total number on US roads, while a whopping 61% of vehicles stolen in Portland over the past three years account for were as old or older. Maybe it’s not so much that nobody ever steals a Prius, but that thieves steal so many old Hondas that it drowns out everything else. (Except maybe the sound of a Sawzall cutting off your Prius’ catalytic converter – kerrrrr-AANG!)

*Easy Payments – only $112 per half year!

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