For the most part, this list has been dominated by pre-1997 cars that lack smart key technology, but as crooks get more high tech, thefts of late-model cars have been on the rise. Smart keys have a chip in the key or fob for improved theft protection, and with dealerships having access to the code for vehicle transponder keys, the NICB says that some thieves are getting around that by cajoling a dealership employee into handing over a car's key code. The bogus keymaking scheme is apparently only a fraction of theft scenarios, though: the organization tracked some 531,031 key code transactions (read: key replacement instances) in the first quarter of this year, and apparently, 277 vehicles related to those instances were stolen within a week of the transaction.
In 2011, the top 10 most-stolen vehicles as indicated by the NICB Hot Wheels lists were:
- 1994 Honda Accord
- 1998 Honda Civic
- 2006 Ford F-Series
- 1991 Toyota Camry
- 2000 Dodge Caravan
- 1994 Acura Integra
- 1999 Chevrolet Silverado
- 2004 Dodge Ram
- 2002 Ford Explorer
- 1994 Nissan Sentra
To protect yourself from having your vehicle stolen, the NICB recommends using common sense when parking your car and equipping your vehicle with an alarm and immobilizing device (ironically, this includes smart keys).
Scroll down for the video and press release.
Key Code Thefts a Growing Concern
DES PLAINES, Ill., August 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released Hot Wheels −its list of the 10 most-stolen vehicles in the United States. The report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2011.
See the full report at www.nicb.org.
For 2011, the most-stolen vehicles* in the nation were:
1994 Honda Accord
1998 Honda Civic
2006 Ford Pickup (Full Size)
1991 Toyota Camry
2000 Dodge Caravan
1994 Acura Integra
1999 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
2004 Dodge Pickup (Full Size)
2002 Ford Explorer
1994 Nissan Sentra
Each year, NICB reviews all NCIC vehicle theft records to produce its national and state lists of the 10 most-stolen vehicles. Hot Wheels is the only report that examines all theft data without regard to a vehicle's insured status − if a vehicle was reported stolen to law enforcement, it is captured in this report.
The top 10 places were evenly split in 2011 with five belonging to foreign brands and five to U.S. automakers. Most popular models among the domestic brands were Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet pickup trucks each holding one spot with the Dodge Caravan and Ford Explorer rounding out the domestic models.
Once again, 2011 is on track to continue the national vehicle theft decline. Preliminary 2011 FBI crime statistics indicate a 3.3 percent reduction from the 737,142 thefts recorded in 2010. Vehicle thefts have not been this low since 1967.
"While overall thefts continue to decline, we are seeing a trend toward increases in the thefts of late model vehicles − ones that are theoretically harder to steal due to sophisticated key code technology," said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle.
"Today's vehicle thieves are typically professional criminals who have figured out how to get the key code for a specific vehicle, have a replacement key made, and steal the vehicle within a matter of days. We are aware of nearly 300 thefts that took place in the first three months of this year in which we believe replacement keys using illegally obtained key codes were used to steal the vehicle. We are working closely with our member companies, law enforcement, and the vehicle manufacturers to track these illegal key code transactions and stop the thefts or recover the stolen vehicles before they can be resold here or shipped out of the country to be sold overseas."
For more on key code thefts, watch this video.
Even one theft is one too many if it happens to you. NICB urges motorists to follow its "layered approach" to auto theft prevention. By employing these simple, low-cost suggestions, people can 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 vehicle can't be started, it can't be stolen. "Kill" switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are among the devices that 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? Check out VINCheckSM, a free vehicle history service for consumers. Since 2005, NICB has offered this limited service made possible by its participating member companies. Check it out at: www.nicb.org/vincheck.
Anyone with information concerning vehicle theft and insurance fraud can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422), texting keyword "fraud" to TIP411 (847411) or by visiting our website at www.nicb.org.
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 data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $339 billion in insurance premiums in 2011, or approximately 80 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 94 percent ($156 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.
* This report reflects stolen vehicle data reported to NCIC in 2011. 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). For purposes of this report, full size pickups include half ton and larger capacity models for all makes.