The FBI estimates that international art crime has doubled in the last ten years. Fakes, forgeries and thefts now account for more than $6 billion in losses annually.
Other experts insist that art crime has not increased, only public awareness of these often high-profile crimes. Media attention also brings about copy cat thefts.
“The increased coverage of art theft may be leading to ever more art theft, because one common feature of many art theft stories is just how easy it is. You hear about underfunded museums, about lax security, about million dollar paintings hanging in busy hotel lobbies…That’s bound to have an impact,” art lawyer Donn Zaretsky of John Silberman Associates told The Art Newspaper.
Thieves are opportunists, and often the perpetrator knows the victim, or least the contents of their home or collection.