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Thanks to modern technologies like ignition keys with embedded chips and factory installed security immobilizers, it's getting harder and harder to steal new cars. As a result, the number of cars and trucks stolen in the United States dropped by 13.1 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, a trend that has been continuing for five years. Total thefts for the year could actually end up under 1 million for the first time in 20 years.

Owners of older cars on the other hand aren't so lucky. One of the main driving factors behind car thefts is to strip the vehicles and sell the parts. The main market for those parts is older, high volume vehicles, so the same vehicles are the ones that tend to get stolen. The top ten stolen vehicles for 2008 includes a couple of surprises and a bunch of perennial hits. Check out the whole list by clicking the image above.

[Source: SmartBrief | Photo by stephenyeargin | CC 2.0]

press release

Hot Wheels: Vehicle Theft Continuing to Decline

DES PLAINES, Ill., Aug. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hot Wheels 2009, the National Insurance Crime Bureau's (NICB) companion study to its popular Hot Spots auto theft report, examines data reported to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model, and model year most reported stolen in 2008. See the full report at www.nicb.org.

For 2008, the most stolen vehicles* in the nation were:

1. 1994 Honda Accord

2. 1995 Honda Civic

3. 1989 Toyota Camry

4. 1997 Ford F-150 Pickup

5. 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup

6. 2000 Dodge Caravan

7. 1996 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

8. 1994 Acura Integra

9. 1999 Ford Taurus

10. 2002 Ford Explorer

Certain models of older cars and trucks are popular with thieves because of the value of their parts. Frequently, the parts can be stripped from a car at a chop shop and sold for at least twice as much as the value of the vehicle on the used car market. Newer models are also more difficult, but not impossible to steal thanks to anti-theft technology incorporated by the manufacturers.

Although the final numbers have not yet been released, the preliminary 2008 FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) shows that vehicle theft is on pace to record a decrease of 13.1 percent from 2007 numbers. That would make 2008 the fifth consecutive year of declining vehicle thefts. Moreover, if the preliminary figures hold total thefts for 2008 would be below 1 million vehicles--the lowest annual total in over 20 years.

"This is great news for vehicle owners, law enforcement and the insurance industry," said Joe Wehrle, NICB's president and chief executive officer. "It takes years of sustained effort to deliver the kinds of reductions that we are enjoying today. NICB joins with our member companies in acknowledging the great work performed by law enforcement and our investigators in the fight against vehicle theft.

"Comprehensive legislation, aggressive enforcement and rigorous prosecution are the three essential components to a winning crime control program. NICB is proud to contribute to each of those areas through our national legislative affairs program and our network of experienced investigators," Wehrle said.

NICB provides law enforcement with local resources for identifying and recovering stolen vehicles as well as training and information analysis in the detection and prevention of vehicle theft and insurance crime.

As good as this news is, however, vehicle theft is still a costly drain on our economy and a tremendous hassle for victims. To protect their investment, vehicle owners are urged to follow NICB's "layered approach" to auto theft prevention by employing simple, low-cost suggestions to make their vehicles less attractive to thieves.

NICB's four layers of protection are:

Common Sense: Lock your car and take your keys. It's simple enough but many thefts occur because owners make it easy for thieves to steal their cars.

Warning Device: Having and using a visible or audible warning device is another item that can ensure that your car remains where you left it.

Immobilizing Device: Generally speaking, if your car won't start, it won't get stolen. "Kill" switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are among the devices which are extremely effective.

Tracking Device: A tracking device emits a signal to the police or to a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ "telematics," which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.

Considering a used vehicle purchase? Don't buy a headache, check in with VINCheck(SM), NICB's free vehicle history service at www.nicb.org.

You can help stop this criminal activity by reporting suspected insurance fraud and vehicle theft to NICB at 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422) or by texting to TIP411 keyword "Fraud." You may also report fraud and theft by visiting our Web site www.nicb.org. All tips can be anonymous.

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through information analysis, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,000 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote nearly $343 billion in insurance premiums in 2008, or more than 82 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.

* This report reflects only stolen vehicle data reported to NCIC in 2008. No further filtering of information is conducted, i.e., determining the total number of a particular make and model currently registered in the U.S. for comparison purposes.

SOURCE National Insurance Crime Bureau




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 47 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seriously, are any of those vehicles worth going to jail for? Not a Porsche, Audi, BWM, or Vette in the whole bunch??? WTF?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @fmwso
        Another thing to keep in mind is that those cars are also easy to steal.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Dude, the movies about stealing hot cars have very little to do with real life.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's not about a car being worth or not, those vehicles are more likely to be stolen because:
        a)they're popular;
        b)the availability of parts out there is enormous, compared to say, a BMW;
        c)cops will have a harder time looking for the stolen car.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Good point fmwso. Easier to stay in stealth mode, too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Um, that's a 96 Civic, not a 95.
      • 5 Years Ago
      7. 1996 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

      Amazing. The Jeep Cherokee and the Jeep Grand Cherokee are tied for 7th on the same list! WTF... these are two completely different models...
      • 5 Years Ago
      amazing not a single GM car on the list.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The old RWD G-body coupes (Monte-Cutlass-Regal-GP) always used to be pretty high on the list. I guess they're finally beginning to die off...and are being replaced by ever-ubiquitous 1980s Camrys. Go figure.
        • 5 Years Ago
        For good reason. Passlock, Onstar, etc.
      • 5 Years Ago
      1994 honda accord yeah. my friends honda got stolen twince during the same week period then he sold it and he got an 89 camry. jaja
        • 5 Years Ago
        Seminole Jaja = Haha in Spanish as the j is an h sound. But anyway trading in one target for another is just bad luck.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jaja ≠ Haha
        • 5 Years Ago
        so I lied is not an 89 camry it a 91. same thing I would say...
      • 5 Years Ago
      The 1999 Taurus is actually the 2000 Taurus. Did you know????
      • 5 Years Ago
      Thank God I don't drive any of those cars. Glad I don't have to worry about my car being a high risk to be stolen either!
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Cherokee and Grand Cherokee are completely different vehicles.

      Did they just happen to tie, or does someone not know the difference?

      Also: many of these would make great LeMons cars. Not hard to be under the $500 limit if the car was "free"...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I had a new Cherk for well over 100K, and it had the best quality of any new car I'd ever had. It was dismaying to see it on the C4C top-10 list, but this (sort of) makes up for it.

      Good, bad or indifferent, there's no top-10 list that doesn't include a Jeep.
      • 5 Years Ago
      You couldn't find a picture of an 89 Camry? Maybe those got stolen too :-)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry about that, when I searched Toyota's media site that photo was labeled as an 89 Camry and it's been a long time since I saw a Cressida. I've replaced the photo.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @click

        And that means what? This is a model by model ranking scheme which different companies have different strategies. Especially in the 80's & 90's. In fact the US models on the list tend not to have a rebadged versions or one that didn't sell very well. The old Sierra + Silverado sales are larger than F-150 sales, but individually they are do not situation.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dan the Cressida was rwd the ES was fwd not the same car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was thinking the same thing; isn't that a Cressida?
        • 5 Years Ago
        What I was saying was that Sam replaced the Cressida pic with a Lexus ES pic. The ES was based on the Camry, therefore it was the same car.

        And I stand by my expensive and ugly comments!

        Honestly, I would have preferred seeing the Cressida over the Lexus. At least it was a decent looking vehicle.
        JDM Life
        • 5 Years Ago
        Dan.



        Your a Corn ball.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Haha not surprising at all. I use to own a 94 Honda accord and it wasn't stolen, but broken into a couple of times. Not sure if I should advertise this, but you can just unlock the door by bending the window to the side with a key. It was helpful when I forgot my keys in the car a couple of times.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No suprise, except a 89 Camry seems odd.
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