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The 10 Most Stolen — and Recovered Vehicles

Honda again leads the list.

by on May.27, 2014

The 2013 Honda Accord was the most stolen - and recovered - vehicle according to LoJack.

Crime, in general, has taken a sharp drop in recent years, and one reason has been a crackdown on car theft.  While there are a few hot spots left in the country – most of them in California, according to federal data – that crackdown has been paying off.

It’s not just tougher penalties and sting operations aimed at so-called “chop shops” that trade in stolen vehicles. Police across the country are getting a high-tech helping hand from advanced systems that can track and, in some cases, disable a stolen car making it easy for police to arrest thieves and recover the vehicle.


A new study by LoJack, the largest of the Stolen Vehicle Recovery System, or SVRS, vendors, reveals which vehicles are both the most stolen and the most often recovered. Some familiar names pop up, including three from Japanese maker Honda. In fact, its Accord model topped the LoJack list for the fifth year in a row.


Honda Accord is America’s Most Stolen Vehicle

Honda Civic second in annual “Hot Wheels” report.

by on Aug.21, 2013

The 1996 Honda Accord was the single most frequently stolen vehicle in America during 2012.

The Honda Civic was the nation’s most frequently stolen vehicle, while the maker’s Civic model came in second on the annual Hot Wheels report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The trade group revised the latest version of its study, no longer focusing on individual model-years but combing all years of a particular make and model. The NICB now also lists the top new vehicles that were stolen in 2012.

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The latest Hot Wheels study coincides with what appears to be a reversal of an eight-year downward trend in car thefts. The NICB expects thefts to rise by about 1.3% in 2013.


Mercedes Top Luxury Brand for Car Thieves

California accounts for a quarter of all stolen luxury models.

by on Jul.30, 2013

Mercedes had three models on the Top 10 list of stolen luxury vehicles, according to the NICB.

Car theft has begun to rise again, according to recent reports, and while thieves often target mainstream vehicles that can readily be resold or stripped down for parts, luxury cars are far from immune.

And a new study suggests that Mercedes-Benz is the brand car thieves seem to be targeting the most, with three models – the C-Class, E-Class and S-Class – among the Top 10 most frequently stolen luxury vehicles, according to a new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

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German vehicles, in general, were among the most frequently stolen high-line products, perhaps no surprise considering brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW – which had two models in the Top 10 – are also the luxury segment sales leaders. Each of Japan’s three upscale brands had a single model on the list, as did Detroit’s Lincoln and Cadillac.


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…)

Escalade Tops the List of Late-Model Stolen Cars

Caddy tops list for fourth year.

by on Aug.25, 2011

The Cadillac Escalade EXT tops the lost of stolen vehicles, according to a new report.

Bling, bling…gone.

For the fourth year in a row, the big Cadillac Escalade, a favorite among rappers and professional athletes, tops the list as the car more likely to be stolen, according to a new report by the Highway Loss Data Institute.

The trade group’s data show that four different versions of the Escalade rank high on the list of 2008 to 2010 vehicles thieves targeted, with the Cadillac Escalade EXT, an SUV/pickup blend, ranking at the top of the list.  On average, it experienced 14 claims per 1,000 registered vehicles – eight times higher than the average vehicle covered by the study.  Overall, theft claims for the Escalade resulted in average insurance payouts of $10,555.

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The HLDI study reveals that Detroit brands top the theft charts – and that thieves seem to prefer pickups and SUVs.  In fact, eight of the top 10 are either General Motors or Ford trucks.  The other two slots were filled by Chrysler, with two versions of its big 300 sedan.


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.


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.