2014 Ram 1500 4x4 - rear dead-on view

A combination of truck tailgates being easily damaged and even easier to remove has made them a target for thieves for years, but the problem seems to be getting worse. According to The Detroit News, reported tailgate thefts skyrocketed from just 3 in 2008 to more than 500 last year based on information from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

While that might not sound like a big number compared to how many trucks are sold in the US, the article says that most thefts are not reported since quite often, insurance deductibles may cost more than replacing the tailgate. That could change as tailgates get more expensive, with an estimated cost of $1,200 for a base truck and as much as $3,500 for trucks with backup cameras and other technology. Not surprisingly, Texas (the top truck market in the US) has the highest frequency of tailgate theft, while the Ford F-Series (the best-selling truck in the US) seems to be a favorite target.

Many models now offer manual locking tailgates, but only the Ram trucks (like the 1500 shown above) have tailgates that lock automatically when the doors are locked – Ford is also apparently looking into power locks tailgates down the road. Still, the article notes that locking tailgates can still be stolen, but it takes much longer than the 10 seconds or less it can take to steal a non-locking (or unlocked) tailgate.