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Ford F-250 Becomes Car Thieves’ Favorite Target

GM pickups, SUVs nab eight of top 10 spots in annual theft list.

by on Jul.09, 2013

The country's most popular vehicle, at least among car thieves: the Ford F-250.

The big Ford F-250 pickup has become the favorite of U.S. car thieves, according to a new report, replacing the Cadillac Escalade, the luxury SUV that had topped the theft chart for nearly a decade.

But the big Caddy fell to only sixth place in the annual survey by the Highway Loss Data Institute, and the HLDI found that Cadillac’s parent General Motors still had eight of the top 10 spots in terms of theft claims.

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Pickups, in particular, proved extremely popular with thieves during the 2010 to 2012 timeframe covered by the new study, accounting for the first five vehicles on the list.  Following the four-wheel-drive crew cab version of the F-250 were: (more…)

Car Thieves Offer a Reprieve on Xmas – But Watch Out New Year’s Eve

Holiday season presents big risks for motorists.

by on Dec.19, 2012

Happy New Year?

The holidays may be a time to spread joy, but be careful you don’t let a car thief sour your good cheer.

A new study ranks the final week of the year as one of the riskiest when it comes to getting your car stolen – though the good news is that even the bad guys seem to take a break on Christmas day.

Among 11 major holidays (okay, an even dozen if you include Groundhog Day), the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICD) reveals Christmas landed last in terms of the total number of vehicles stolen in the U.S. in 2011, at 1,347.  In fact, Christmas had the lowest rate of car theft of any day in 2011, holiday or not.  Groundhog Day, at 1,491, was second-lowest.

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Apparently, all those tricksters were helping themselves to some expensive treats on Halloween, which ranked number one on the list with 2,328 vehicles stolen.

Close behind, however, was New Year’s Day, at 2,286, followed by Memorial Day, at 2,005, and Labor Day, at 1,977.

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Honda Accord Tops Most-Stolen List

Top 10 list evenly divided between U.S., Asian makers.

by on Aug.21, 2012

Yet again, the 1994 Honda Accord tops the list of most-stolen vehicles, according to a new study.

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.

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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.

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Auto Theft Rate Continues to Decline

But problem remains serious in parts of the West.

by on Jun.19, 2012

Car theft fall sharply in 2011 - though there remain major "hot spots" along the West Coast.

Despite high-profile cases, like the recent carjacking of Detroit pastor and gospel icon Marvin Winans, a nationwide crackdown on car theft is generating clear and positive results.

Two new reports suggest that auto theft rates fell once again in 2011, though there are some nagging hot spots that seem to be resisting the crackdown, especially along the West Coast.

Meanwhile, a recent study suggests that certain vehicles remain fair game for thieves, including the Chevrolet Corvette.  According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more than one in 10 Vettes has been heisted over the past 30 years.

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The NICB, an insurance industry trade group, says the general trend is downward, with the majority of major metropolitan areas having seen a decline in overall car theft during 2011.  Some communities, like Laredo, Texas, have seen significant declines.

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10 Worst Neighborhoods for Car Theft

Stay away from Dallas and Las Vegas.

by on Feb.17, 2011

Most of the worst neighborhoods for car theft are out West, with Dallas and Las Vegas among the worst.

Sure, folks are used to losing their shirts along the Strip, in Las Vegas.  But that’s what you risk when you walk into a casino. But you’re also risking your car, it seems.

The neon-hued city has one of the worst neighborhoods in country when it comes to car thefts, reports the website NeighborhoodScout, using insurance industry data.  To be more precise, the most serious problem is located in the Lubertha Johnson Park neighborhood of Las Vegas, where the car theft rate is running 164.76 vehicles per 1,000 – or nearly one in six.

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That compares with a U.S. average of just three per 1,000, which still ends up costing an estimated $5.2 billion a year in owner losses and the checks insurance companies have to write.

As bad as it sounds, however, Las Vegas doesn’t even have the worst neighborhood when it comes to car theft.  That dubious honor goes to the West Commerce Street community in Dallas, where nearly one in four cars are stolen, 223.77 per 1,000, to be precise.

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Vehicle Thefts Post Sixth Straight Yearly Decline

Latest “Hot Wheels” list shows largest annual drop in decades.

by on Sep.21, 2010

Keeping the chop shops in business are older, but popular models.

The FBI’s just-released 2009 Uniform Crime Report shows that vehicle theft is once again down significantly in 2009, the sixth consecutive year of reductions.  In 2008, 956,846 vehicles were reported stolen – the lowest annual total in more than 20 years. For 2009 the thefts are lower at 794,616.

Using this FBI data, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has just released its list of the Top Ten stolen vehicles in the United States by make, model, and year.  Honda Accord and Civic, Toyota Camry and the Ford F-150 head the list.

Unlike other theft reports, this one covers all vehicles, not just insured ones. That’s a significant difference in the data base since newer, more expensive and insured vehicles are often stolen to be resold with counterfeit vehicle identification numbers or shipped out of the country across our porous borders.  (See Vehicles Thieves Love to See – and Take) Older cars are often chopped up for parts, leaving their less affluent owners out of luck.

“Through the end of August this year there were 97,655 vehicles that were listed as stolen and not yet recovered,” said Joe Wehrle, NICB president and CEO. “Of that number, only 38% had some kind of insurance coverage. So there are a lot of vehicles out there that are being stolen and the owner is left holding the bag with no car and no money to buy another one.

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Vehicles Thieves Love to See – and Take

Cadillac Escalade, Ford F-250 pickup, Infiniti G37, Dodge Charger top list of insurance claims for theft. Buy a Volvo?

by on Aug.05, 2010

Cadillac earns a dubious distinction from the "midnight auto parts" set.

The chop shop gang has definite favorites when it comes to swiping vehicles. So you might want to think about “ hot cars” in a two-fold manner.

The first is the simple hot car or truck – selling well, in demand for the moment and with some buzz behind it.  A good set of wheels, right?

However, hot as “in demand” has a darker side, too, and might give you second thoughts about your next vehicle.

According to the latest data from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), people file insurance theft claims for versions of the 2007-09 Cadillac Escalade, a luxury SUV, followed by Ford’s F-250 crew pickup, the Infiniti G37 luxury car, and Dodge Chargers with a HEMI engine, more than any other models.

In fact, theft rates for these vehicles are three to five times as high as the average for all other vehicles – your rates may vary, but you will likely pay a premium for coverage if you own one of these.

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Car Theft Slows to 20-Year Low

Will it rebound during recession?

by on Oct.19, 2009

No game. It may be fun to steal cars in the popular Grand Theft Auto videogame, but in the real world, thefts have dropped by half since 1991.

It's fun to steal cars in Grand Theft Auto. In the real world, thefts have dropped by half since 1991.

Grand Theft Auto may be one of the most popular video games, but it seems like the real crooks are going into another line of business.  New data show that car thefts continue to tumble – in part due to improved security systems on new vehicles – and have hit a 20-year low.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that just 956,846 motor vehicles were stolen in the U.S. last year.  While that may sound like a lot, that figure compares with the record 1.66 million vehicles stolen in 1991.  And that doesn’t fully reveal the dramatic decline.  There are more people in the U.S. and significantly more cars, trucks and crossovers on the road now, so the 2008 data equal 315 cars for every 100,000 people, down from 659 per 100,000 in 1991.

Experts debate the reasons behind the reduction in car theft.  Some point to new technology, such as ignition immobilizers, which prevent an engine from starting unless you use the correct, digitally-encoded key.  There are several different systems now available to motorists and authorities which help track stolen vehicles, including a new service recently launched by the General Motors subsidiary OnStar.

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Meanwhile, there have been a number of federal, state and local programs created to both prevent car thefts or at least catch the perpetrators, including HEAT, short for Help Eliminate Auto Thefts.  And in many jurisdictions, the courts have become tougher on thieves who, in decades past, may have been able to avoid jail time.

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Thank Goodness for the Goodness of Canadians

States bordering Mexico buck the declining trend in auto thefts.

by on Apr.14, 2009

Oh, Canada!  Thanks for not stealing our cars.

Oh, Canada! Thanks for not stealing our cars.

After five straight years of declining auto thefts in the United States one thing is clear — our Mexican border remains porous not only to an influx of illegal immigrants but to an outflow of stolen vehicles. So the next time you see a Canadian, thank him or her not only for ice hockey but for their peaceable ways.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says that 2008 marked the nation’s fifth consecutive year of declining vehicle thefts in the United States. Although most areas experienced a reduction in vehicle theft, there were several noteworthy exceptions in states that border Mexico.

“This is a mixed bag of good news and bad news on the vehicle theft front,” said Joe Wehrle, NICB president and chief executive officer. “The good news is, we’re seeing steady progress in reducing the overall theft rate and that means Americans aren’t shelling out as much to cover the cost of stolen vehicles in their insurance premiums. We’ve also seen significant decreases in key areas along the border such as San Diego, where thefts dropped nearly 20%. ”

The theft rate is calculated by the number of vehicle thefts per 100,000 inhabitants.

“The bad news is that the theft rate continues to increase in areas like El Paso and Laredo where many of the cars, trucks and SUVs being stolen are being used to carry drugs, money and weapons into and out of Mexico. These vehicle thefts are helping finance the drug cartels that are waging war on the Mexican government,” according to Wehrle.

For 2008, the 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) with highest vehicle theft rates

2008 Ranking                           2007 Ranking
1. Modesto, CA                                            1
2. Laredo, TX                                               6
3. Yakima, WA                                              9
4. San Diego/Carlsbad/San Marcos, CA       3
5. Bakersfield, CA                                       15
6. Stockton, CA                                            4
7. Las Vegas/Paradise, NV                           2
8. Albuquerque, NM                                      7
9. San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, CA        5
10. Fresno, CA                                            11

California ranks number one in total thefts. The Texas Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) of El Paso, Laredo and San Antonio, along with Las Cruces in New Mexico each saw an increase in 2008. MSAs are designated by the Office of Management and Budget and often include areas much larger than the cities for which they are named. For example, the Modesto, California, MSA includes the entire county of Stanislaus and other municipalities in addition to the city of Modesto. (more…)