First Advisor

Kris Henning

Date of Award

Spring 6-9-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Criminology and Criminal Justice and University Honors


Criminology and Criminal Justice




auto, portland, vehicle, theft, MVT, car




Residents and stakeholders are increasingly concerned about trends related to motor vehicle theft (MVT) in Portland, Oregon. Currently there are no in-depth studies regarding this crime. This analysis identifies trends in vehicle theft over time, compares Portland to other similar cities, and assesses demographics of neighborhoods with high counts and rates of MVT. First, a broad overview of MVT over a 21-year period spanning from 2000 to 2021 provides context. Then, a more focused analysis of this crime in Portland during more recent years provides information about offenders, types of vehicles stolen, and hot spots where vehicles are most likely to be stolen from. Offender demographics and environmental characteristics of areas that are at high risk for MVT are examined. Finally, this report concludes with a review of literature addressing potential methods to reduce MVT and closing thoughts.

Theft from a vehicle, theft of vehicle parts, and incidents where vehicles are otherwise damaged or vandalized are all excluded; they are treated as separate offenses.

This report is limited to MVT reported to law enforcement agencies. Data for 2022 are not yet available. This analysis is not intended to solve the problem of MVT in Portland, or even offer suggestions on how to address the crime. Rather, the goal is to synthesize available data to provide a starting point for future researchers wishing to assess this topic. There is much room for further research in this area.

Persistent Identifier