Car thieves are a loyal bunch.
At least that’s what the findings in the “Hot Wheels 2013” report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) suggest.
If you’re scratching your head trying to figure out how these two things relate to the other, consider this. The top two cars on the list of the most-stolen vehicles in the United States (the Honda Accord and Civic) have held those same positions since 2005. Having your car stolen is a hassle, and can affect your auto insurance rates.
The 2013 “Hot Wheels” list was created using data submitted by law enforcement agencies across the country to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). The rest of the list is here:
- Honda Accord
- Honda Civic
- Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
- Ford Pickup (Full Size)
- Toyota Camry
- Dodge Pickup
- Dodge Caravan
- Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
- Toyota Corolla
- Nissan Altima
Source: Vehicle thefts reported to the National Crime Information Center in 2013
How many of each of the above vehicles were stolen in 2013? According to the NCIB report, just under 54,000 Honda Accords and just over 45,000 Civics this year. In addition, thieves stole more than 27,800 Chevy Pickups and 26,400 Ford Pickups in the same period.
The rest of the cars on the latest “Hot Wheels” list were a bit less popular with car thieves, as 14,420 Toyota Camrys, 11,347 Dodge Pickups, 10,911 Dodge Caravans, 9,272 Jeep Cherokees (and Jeep Grand Cherokees), 9,010 Toyota Corollas, and 8,892 Nissan Altimas were lifted in 2013.
For a list of current-model-year cars that were stolen most in 2013, look no further:
- Nissan Altima
- Ford Fusion
- Ford Pickup Full Size
- Toyota Corolla
- Chevrolet Impala
- Hyundai Elantra
- Dodge Charger
- Chevrolet Malibu
- Chevrolet Cruze
- Ford Focus
If you currently drive any of these cars, it’s even more important for you to have insurance than it is for most drivers.
Vehicle Thefts Decline
Now for the good news: the FBI predicts that the final statistics for the year will show a decrease in nationwide car thefts. They estimate a dip of 3.2 percent, to just under 700,000.
The last time so few vehicles were stolen in the United States, “A Fistful of Dollars” was in theaters and the Boeing 737 took its maiden flight. Meaning that the numbers are as low as they were in 1967.
The FBI also reports that the 700,000 or so car thefts represent a 50 percent decrease in just under 20 years. In 1991, there were 1,661,738 car thefts, making it one of the “peak years” for this.
“The drop in thefts is good news for all of us,” Joe Wehrle, NICB’s president and CEO, said in a press release about this year’s list.
Still, he added, it “amounts to a vehicle being stolen every 45 seconds and losses of over $4 billion a year. That’s why we applaud the vehicle manufacturers for their efforts to improve anti-theft technology and pledge to continue to work with our insurance company members and law enforcement to identify and seek vigorous prosecution of the organized criminal rings responsible for so many of these thefts.”
Tips for Keeping Your Car Safe
A car is stolen every 45 seconds in the US. One way to avoid being a victim is to avoid buying any of the vehicles in the above lists.
That’s not always possible, though. Many of the vehicles in these lists are very popular. So, here are a few other pieces of advice to prevent car theft:
Alarms—One thing to keep in mind with this: make sure to connect your alarm to a back-up battery. Car thieves know they can keep the alarm from going off by unplugging the main battery.
Hood locks—These are a great option if you can’t get a back-up battery for your alarm system. They keep sticky fingers from accessing and disabling the main battery. And, they can act as deterrents against car thieves.
Kill switches—Many modern cars come with these devices already in place. They immobilize your car, making it impossible to start the car once it’s activated. If your car doesn’t have one, you can install one pretty cheaply.
Tracking systems—These are products that call on transmitters, which are tucked away in the guts of your car. Tracking systems help police track your car if it’s stolen. The good news: they’ve proved to be helpful in getting cars back to their owners.
That said, the cheapest option of all is common sense. Don’t leave your car unlocked. Never leave your keys in the ignition, even if you only plan to be away from the car for a few seconds. Also, don’t leave any objects in your car in plain sight. Thieves often break into cars for the objects inside that catch their attention.