- The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports an 11% increase in vehicle thefts in the US last year, with Ford and Chevrolet half-ton pickups being the most common targets.
- The Honda Civic and Accord were the next most stolen cars, in part because anti-theft devices are unlikely to be built into late-1990s models still on the road.
- The FBI found that vehicle thefts increased 16.6% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Hundreds of thousands of people who had their vehicles stolen last year got an extra helping of "Seriously, this too?" during the pandemic. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Ford and Chevy full-size pickup drivers were the most likely to have their vehicle stolen.
The NICB found that overall vehicle thefts increased 11% in 2020 compared to 2019. Full-size Ford pickups lead the list with 44,014 stolen, followed by full-size Chevy trucks with 40,968. The Honda Civic and Accord were third and fourth last year. The late 1990s models were among the last to be built without anti-theft technology, according to the NCIB.
The NICB discovered that most thieves target older cars. For example, the most common Ford truck stolen was a 2006, while the most common Chevy truck stolen was a 2004. The Toyota Camry (fifth overall), Nissan Altima (sixth), and Toyota Corolla (eighth) all have their most common model year stolen as 2020 or 2019. Seventh place goes to GMC full-size pickups, ninth to Honda CR-V, and tenth to full-size Dodge pickups.
For example, the NICB president and CEO said owner complacency contributed to the rise in auto thefts in 2020 compared to 2019.
The FBI, which collects data differently than the NICB, found that there were around 407,000 motor vehicle theft incidents in 2020, up 16.6% from 315,000 in 2019 and 270,000 in 2018. The FBI collects data through the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, which relies on local law enforcement numbers, and not all local agencies share their information with the Bureau. For example, in 2020, the FBI estimated national crime statistics using data from 15,875 of 18,623 law enforcement agencies.
Regardless of how many vehicles were stolen last year, the NICB has some practical advice for avoiding future thefts. Simply lock your car, park in well-lit areas, and never leave your keys in it. If you believe your vehicle is in danger, you should consider installing a warning device or something to immobilize or track it.
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