BOSTON (AP) - Car thefts in Massachusetts have dropped by 88 percent since the mid-1970s, when the state had the dubious distinction of being the country's car theft capital.

Insurance experts and law enforcement officials credit the dramatic drop to antitheft features, from transponder keys and immobilizing devices and vehicle tracking systems, and to vigorous enforcement by police.

The Boston Globe (http://bo.st/162lDld ) reports that there were 1,575 reports of stolen vehicles in Boston last year, compared with 28,000 in 1975. In Massachusetts, car thefts have dropped every year since 2001.

The state now ranks near the middle of the pack nationally, a drop that has helped stabilize insurance rates.

The bad news is that these days stolen vehicles are less likely to be found. Many are shipped overseas or are driven to Mexico.


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