This is one list you’d probably prefer not to see your car wind up on, but if you own a 1994 Honda Accord it is the vehicle thieves are most likely to target, according to a new study released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
The good news is that car theft, in general, has been declining in recent years – though there are some nagging hot spots, especially along the West Coast. But the NICB’s annual Hot Wheels study shows that thieves are particular about what they go after, whether there’s strong demand for a particular model or they’re just easier to get away with.
Honda, it turns out, has the two most frequently stolen models, both the ’94 Accord and the ’98 Civic. The full list follows. It reveals that Japanese makers built half of the Top 10 models, Detroit the other five. The list also is fairly evenly split between passenger cars, such as the Accord, and light trucks, including the 2006 Ford F-Series pickup and 2000 Dodge Caravan minivan.
But the ’94 Accord has topped the list annually since 2008.
As anyone with access to a recent model knows, gone are the days when a car came with a simple metal key. Today’s vehicles largely rely on smarter technologies designed, at least in part, to help frustrate potential thieves. But the new data suggests it has not been as successful as expected.
“While overall thefts continue to decline, we are seeing a trend toward increases in the thefts of late-model vehicles,” said NICB President Joe Wehrle, “ones that are theoretically harder to steal due to sophisticated key-code technology.”
One problem, according to the industry trade group is that this appears to be an inside job, thieves gaining access to those encrypted key codes rather than simply using muscle to break into a vehicle and hot-wiring it, as they might have with older models.
The NICB suggests that motorists help prevent theft by using what it calls “layered” protection, rather than just counting on smart key technology.
That includes an alarm system, a vehicle immobilizer – which makes it difficult to start a vehicle – and a stolen vehicle recovery system, or SVRS, which allows police to track a car and quickly recover it. Some advanced services, such as General Motors’ OnStar, can be used to slow or even shut down a vehicle remotely.
Of course, the first line of defense, the NICB stresses, is for a motorist to lock a vehicle and take away the key. A surprising number of car thefts occur each year because motorists simply make it easy for thieves.
The full Hot Wheels list:
- 1994 Honda Accord
- 1998 Honda Civic
- 2006 Ford F-Series
- 1991 Toyota Camry
- 2000 Dodge Caravan
- 1994 Acura Integra
- 1999 Chevrolet Silverado
- 2004 Dodge Ram
- 2002 Ford Explorer
- 1994 Nissan Sentra
Tags: accord stolen, auto news, auto theft, car news, car theft, civic stolen, honda news, hot wheels list, most stolen cars, nicb, paul a. eisenstein, paul eisenstein, stolen cars, thedetroitbureau, vehicle theft