It is now tougher than just cracking a lock to break in... It is now tougher than just cracking a lock to break into a car. (Shutterstock)
New York is experiencing a dramatic drop in car thefts thanks to new laws and technology that make stealing cars unprofitable. Car thefts have dropped more than 95 percent over the past two decades in the city.

It seems car theft is so 1990. Back then, cars were more vulnerable and easier to profit from. In 1990, there were 147,000 reported auto thefts, one for every 50 New York residents. Last year, there were only 7,400, or one per 1,100, The New York Times reports.

Today, cars that continue to be stolen tend to be from that golden age of car theft. Models from the 1990s are still new enough to be profitable, but come with low risk, since they were built before engine immobilizer systems became industry standard.

Engine immobilizer systems make it almost impossible to start a car without the ignition key -- or advanced hacking skills. The technology has become so pervasive that cities all over America have also seen a sharp decline in auto theft.

It's older models of the Honda Accord, America's most stolen car, that don't have a microchip in the ignition key that end up being snatched off the streets. Older cars aren't nearly as valuable, making the easily stolen cars not worth the risk. New York has also cracked down on thieves' ability to sell the cars with stricter regulations for junkyards.

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