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Chapter Four (Barry)

Chapter Four- Michael Barry


  • in the 1970’s, movies began to portray car thieves as heroic renegades. People were okay with theft as long as the car was insured
  • music since the 1970’s has been very different
  • there are very few mentions of car theft, and when it occurs it is as a very dark, low-point in somebody’s life
  • in reality car theft was less glamorous. There were two kinds: “blue collar” and “white collar”
  • in both cases it was easiest to steal keys. The blue collar way was to steal the lock off of a door, replace it with a dummy lock, and then use the original lock to model a new key for the car. The white collar way was to call dealers during their busiest times pretending to be lock smiths and just ask for the specifications for a new key for a certain car
  • in 1982 the federal government started to try to prevent organized theft by targeting chop shops
  • car theft is most common in California and other states near the borders of Canada and Mexico, and is most common in densely populated cities with good access to interstate highways
  • the Club is one of the best ways to prevent car theft because it is an obvious sign to a would be thief that the car will take longer than the surrounding ones
  • LoJack puts out a signal that helps law enforcement officials track stolen cars
  • it does nothing to stop the actual theft, but leads officers to the stolen car, which has helped break up chop shops


  • Grand Theft Auto reinforced the notion that stealing a car was not really stealing, just temporarily using a motor vehicle because of a personal need.” (90)
  • “‘My car used to be a 1974 Ford Bronco, but now it’s a statistic” (99-100)
  • “the Club does prevent a crime, even though it may just shift the theft to another car that is perhaps easier to steal but less desirable” (107)
  • “Gonzalez-Navarro demonstrated that negative externalities existed if thieves could distinguish between LoJack and non-LoJack equipped cars, concluding that ‘most averted thefts were replaced by thefts of non-LoJack equipped cars in neighboring states.’” (111)

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