According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), some of the most commonly stolen vehicles include:
- Ford pickups from 2006
- 2000 Honda Civics
- 2004 Chevrolet pickups
- 1997 Honda Accords
- 2007 Toyota Camrys
This is the most recent data available. Rutgers University says that the reason why older cars are stolen more often than newer models is simply because there are more of them on the road.
Other factors include things like broken door locks, inadequate security systems, and cars’ location.
Why Do People Steal Cars?
There is no data available that explains why people steal cars. Sometimes, certain models are stolen and sold to “chop shops.” These businesses scrap cars for parts and then sell them online, on the black market, or in their stores.
Other times, cars are stolen for criminal activity. For instance, many bank heists are conducted in cars that do not actually belong to the robbers. This is intended to complicate policy investigations and make them harder to track down.
Car thieves very rarely steal cars for their own personal use. However, this is not always the case.
Reasons Why Some Cars Are Stolen More Than Others
Here are some reasons why car thieves target and then steal certain cars:
Some locations are more prone to car thefs than others. According to Forbes, California has the highest rate of stolen cars in the United States. This is mostly due in part because there are so many people living there.
When adjusted for population and size, here are the top-five places where cars are stolen in 2018:
- Albuquerque, New Mexico. This city reported 7,100 car thefts.
- Anchorage, Alaska. The Last Frontier reported nearly 3,100 stolen cars.
- Bakersfield, California. This city reported over 6,700 car thefts.
- Pueblo, Colorado. 1,170 cars were reported stolen.
- Modesto, California. Over 3,400 were stolen.
Aside from California, other high-ranking states include Kansas and Missouri.
One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that red cars are more likely to be stolen than any other type of vehicle. This is simply not the case. In fact, red cars are on the bottom of the “most stolen car” list simply because they stand out more. Car thieves purposefully steal inconspicuous, neutral-colored cars.
Silver cars actually top the list when considering which cars get stolen the most. There are many theories behind this, namely that silver cars are associated with class and elitism.
Serial car thieves can know a car’s year just by looking at it. In some crime circles, it is commonly known that cars manufactured before 2007 are easy to steal. This is primarily for one reason: the car doors are easy to pop open.
For older cars (especially pickup trucks), thieves can jimmy the locks using anything from screwdrivers to credit cards. Even if the door is locked, if you have a car that predates 2007, you may want to consider implementing an alarm or another security device.
How Can I Prevent My Car from Being Stolen?
Somethings in life are just unavoidable. With all of the car theft tools that are on today’s market, sometimes, there is nothing you can do to keep someone from stealing your car.
However, there are some things that you can do to deter someone from stealing your car. Proactive measures could include:
- Avoid leaving your car running. Even if you are just running into the gas station for a second, by keeping your car running, you give someone the perfect opportunity to drive off with it. You should not leave your children unattended in a running car for any reason, either; this will not deter some thieves from stealing your vehicle.
- Lock your car door. This is especially the case if you have a keyless ignition. Some thieves have hardware that activate the sensor instead of your ignition, allowing them to drive away with your car. Most thieves are opportunists. If your car door is unlocked, they might not trouble themselves with stealing the vehicle.
- Leaving valuables out of sight. You should leave anything that could be perceived as valuable out of sight. Even a shopping bag with a designer’s name on it could tempt a thief from entering. You should always bring your phone, purse, or wallet with you.
You should also periodically clean out your car. Thieves often assume that car owners with fast food bags, cans, or other items typically have not invested in car security systems.
What to do if Your Car Is Stolen
If you did everything in your power to keep your car from getting stolen, don’t panic. Here are some things that could help you:
- Call the police. The sooner you call the police, the better chance you have of recovering your car. Once the police can get out an all-points bulletin (APB), they can begin looking for your vehicle. Be sure to give them your car’s license plate number, make, model, color, and year.
- Notify your insurance company. Depending on your policy, you might have coverage for a situation like this. In most cases, you will need to have filed a police report before you file a claim.
You might be able to locate your car if it has tracking software, like OnStar. Statista says that over 50% of cars are found. However, you may need to come to terms with the fact that your car might not be recovered.
Some cars are simply stolen more often than others. Yet, just because you own a car that is commonly stolen does not mean that you’ll one day find an empty parking space.
There are some things that you can do to prevent your car from falling into the wrong hands. For more information about what you can do to insure your car in case it is stolen, contact your auto insurance provider.