Every 43 seconds a vehicle is stolen in the US. That works out to about 3,000 vehicles a day or almost a million every year. Many of the cars stolen are older car models made in 1990’s through early 2000’s. That’s changing as crooks become smarter and use technology enabling them to defeat electronic locks and anti-theft measures. Some of the technologies even allow them to start your car without a key by using an electronic device that interacts with your car’s computer and start it tapping a screen.
What are the most stolen vehicles in the US? That depends on who you ask. There are two major lists that most people refer to. One is produced by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and the other by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). Here’s their lists for the top 10 most stolen vehicles:
NICB Hot Wheels List
HLDI List For Model
Years 2010 – 2012
|Honda Accord||Ford F-250 crew 4WD|
|Honda Civic||Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew|
|Ford Pickup (full size)||Chevrolet Avalanche 1500|
|Chevrolet Pickup (full size)||BMC Sierra 1500 crew|
|Toyota Camry||Ford F-350 crew 4WD|
|Dodge Caravan||Cadillac Escalade 4WD|
|Dodge Pickup (full size)||Chevrolet Suburban 1500|
|Acura Integra||GMC Sierra 1500 extended cab|
|Nissan Altima||GMC Yukon|
|Nissan Maxima||Chevrolet Tahoe|
The reason for the differences between the two lists is due to two factors:
- HLDI rankings are based on the number of insured vehicles on the road
- NICB simply lists the most frequently stolen vehicles
When a vehicle is stolen, there are two probable outcomes for that vehicle. If it’s an older model it will usually end up in a shop that chops it and sells it for parts. If it’s a newer vehicle it may be shipped overseas to people that buy and sell stolen vehicles.
The top 10 states that lead the nation in stolen cars are below and ranked 1 through 10:
- New York
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
What are the least stolen vehicles? Here’s the list of the top 5 least stolen vehicles as compiled by the Highway Loss Data Institute (ranked 1 – 5).
- Dodge Journey
- Volkswagen Tiguan
- Audi A4
- Acura RDX
- Toyota Matrix
Whether your car is on the most or least stolen lists here are 5 steps you can take to prevent your vehicle from being stolen.
Take your key: A surprisingly high number of vehicles are stolen because the key was left in the car. That should never happen, however many people leave a spare key either in the car (under a mat, in the glove box, ashtray, center console) or on the car in a magnetic case. This makes it way too easy for a car thief.
Many people don’t even know they’ve left a key to their car in the car. This is usually in the form of a valet key that’s left in the vehicle’s owner manual or even in the tool kit (BMW). Remove these valet keys and you’ll make it harder for a thief.
Windows and doors: An experienced car thief can insert their fingers into a cracked window, work it out of the track to create enough room to reach into the car and unlock it. This can be done in about 15 seconds. Make sure your all doors and windows are closed and locked.
If you use your key fob to lock the door, confirm it really locked. Some thieves use a hand held electronic device that actually blocks the signal and prevents the door from locking.
Parking guidelines: Park your car in well-lit areas in public lots such as the mall, grocery store, etc. Light is a deterrent to many thieves. If your home has a garage and you have room, park your car in it. It takes too much effort to break into a garage to steal a car. Never leave the car running while you run into a convenience store, the cleaners, etc. It’s just too inviting and your policy may not cover the loss if that’s why it was stolen.
Remove the incentive: Remove all valuables from the car every day including laptops, luggage, tablets, etc. If you leave them in the car while you run into your favorite coffee shop, at least put them in the truck where no one can see them. This will reduce your chances of someone smashing a window to grab what’s inside.
Deter and track: Most vehicles produced in the past 4 to 6 years have better anti-theft security than older models. The two best ways to help deter a car thief are alarm systems (they must be armed) and mechanical devices such as The Club. Owners may also want to explore investing in a vehicle tracking system such as On Star (it is available on non-GM vehicles) and LoJack.
None of these measures are guaranteed to prevent your vehicle from being stolen, but together, they significantly reduce the likelihood you’ll be a victim. If you do walk out of the mall or office and find your car’s not in the spot you left it, call the police immediately. The quicker you make the call the better your odds of recovering your vehicle. 52% of all stolen vehicles are recovered.
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