When all you need for a thriving black market is a hot commodity any asset in a supply and demand loop is at risk. Take for instance something as lame as old bricks from run down buildings in St. Louis, Missouri. According to this NYT article, real estate developers as far away as Florida have set a market for the City’s bricks and thieves have devised clever schemes for supplying them. The ancillary risk effect of this criminal trade puts the affected communities at high risk for loss of life and their properties. These developments are reminiscent of the rash of copper thefts that swept communities around the world when demand was driven by high commodity prices. I can speak from first experience as a victim of copper theft when my vacant home at the time was broken into and had all the copper water supply lines striped out by thieves. The damage left behind (Thousands of dollars worth) I’m sure far outweighed the benefit derived from the crime.
Car thefts are another example of the dynamics at play (supply and demand) in the black markets. According to this article in Time Magazine, car thieves prefer specific early model cars that have the highest demand for parts at collision shops around the US. The statistics from the National Insurance Crime Bureau reveals that the current state of the car theft economy runs counter to common wisdom, where late model cars would be in higher demand and fetch more money. That doesn’t mean you should not be concerned and invest in antitheft devices (Standard features in most car models today) for your new vehicle, but if own an early model Honda accord you should take extra steps to protect your investment.