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Motor vehicle theft has been on a steady rise in the U.S. since 2014. Here’s how many cars were stolen (in America alone) in the most recent years we have official totals for:
According to the Insurance Information Institute, “In addition, preliminary data from the FBI show that in the first half of 2017, vehicle thefts increased by another 4.1 percent.”
Not worried about it? Feel like you have the Fort Knox of cars? You’re not alone. 58 percent of Americans rarely or never worry that their car will be stolen or broken into according to a poll by Gallop.
Maybe that false sense of security is what makes us easy targets. Thieves know how to manipulate your safety technology to help them steal your car.
The features that make our lives easier, including remote unlocking and push-to-start, have plenty of security gaps, and those $2,000 headlights are worth the effort.
People have been stealing cars since 1896, and HowStuffWorks describes why this problem isn’t going away anytime soon: “From that early era to today, cars have been a natural target for thieves: They are valuable, reasonably easy to resell and they have a built-in getaway system.”
With cars being broken into every 20 seconds in the United States, it’s time you ask yourself: “How easily can my car be stolen?”
Here’s what we cover:
If you’ve been wondering how does car insurance work if your car is stolen, check this out.
Table of Contents
Nothing is more frustrating then when something you’ve purchased is stolen by someone else. While car thefts rates are down, there’s still more work to do. Check out the historical trends, most stolen cars by state, and other data visualized for your convenience.
You won’t want to miss our analysis of what makes each vehicle vulnerable to theft below.
|Alabama||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2004||623|
|Alaska||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||1999||259|
|Arkansas||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||1994||534|
|District of Columbia||Honda Accord||1994||159|
|Florida||Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2006||2,211|
|Georgia||Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2004||1,055|
|Idaho||Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2000||110|
|Indiana||Ford Pickup (Full Size)||1999||719|
|Iowa||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2005||265|
|Kansas||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2000||499|
|Kentucky||Ford Pickup (Full Size)||1997||360|
|Louisiana||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2006||651|
|Maine||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2002||29|
|Mississippi||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2005||324|
|Missouri||Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2004||1,029|
|Montana||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2006||187|
|Nebraska||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2000||280|
|New Hampshire||Honda Accord||2012||25|
|New Jersey||Honda Accord||1996||692|
|New Mexico||Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2004||1,190|
|New York||Honda Accord||1997||617|
|North Carolina||Honda Accord||1997||703|
|North Dakota||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||1999||136|
|Oklahoma||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||1994||1,189|
|Rhode Island||Toyota Camry||1997||96|
|South Carolina||Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2006||685|
|South Dakota||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2001||91|
|Tennessee||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||1999||690|
|Texas||Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2006||7,333|
|Vermont||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2003||10|
|Vermont||Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2002||10|
|West Virginia||Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2003||105|
|Wyoming||Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2001||55|
Keep reading to get into the nitty gritty of protecting your vehicles….
The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau) recently released detailed reports on all of the motor vehicle robberies that took place in 2016.
Using those final results, our researchers were able to determine not only which vehicles were stolen the most often in our country, but where those car thefts occur. Click here for our detailed methodology.
Read on to determine just how likely it is that your car will stay where you leave it next time.
Total Number Stolen: 6,412
Highest Ranking: 4th in California
In 2016, 5,196, Toyota Camrys (1991) were stolen in California — that’s 81 percent of all the stolen 1991 Camrys in the country!
Here’s how the Toyota Camry has ranked in our three top stolen car studies:
It’s no surprise the above stolen Camry car chase took place in Cali.
The Camry may have a better ranking in this year’s study, but don’t be fooled!
There were 1,604 more Camrys stolen in 2016 than the year prior—that’s an over ten percent increase!
The Camry, specifically the ’91, has been a long-time favorite for thieves. Even in 2001, the 1991 Toyota Camry was on a five-year streak for being at the top of “the target list of auto thieves” according to the Insurance Journal.
Total Number Stolen: 6,864
Highest Ranking: 1st in Connecticut & Hawaii
The 2000 Civic was the number one stolen vehicle in not just one but two states, and it was a top-five stolen car in nine states! Here’s the breakdown:
Below you can watch a thief in action as he steals a 2000 Honda Civic right from someone’s driveway. The entire robbery is caught in vivid detail by the owner’s garage camera:
Since we began this study three years ago, the Civic has consistently been the second most stolen car in America, just under the Accord.
In the U.S. alone there were 42,673 Civics stolen in 2014, 47,976 in 2015, and 48,411 in 2016.
Total Number Stolen: 7,720
Highest Ranking: 1st in Georgia, Missouri & New Mexico
The Ford Pickup truck has been a favorite among thieves for awhile now. Here’s how it ranked and how many were stolen in the U.S. in our three studies:
As you can see with the historical stats above, this is not a new problem, and it’s only getting worse each year.
The 2004 full-sized Ford Pickup was the number one stolen vehicle in Georgia, Missouri, and New Mexico with a total of 3,274 of them stolen in those three states in 2016.
Fox 4 released a video showing why thieves are targeting Ford trucks:
“Most crooks who have any mechanical sense whatsoever can get right into this thing and actually drive off with it within the first 30 seconds” explained Sergeant Jason Parks of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
30 seconds is not a long time for your $12,000 investment (and mode of transportation!) to go driving off for you to never see again.
Total Number Stolen: 7,981
Highest Ranking: 1st in Alabama
This is the third year in-a-row that full-sized Chevy Pickup trucks have been a top ten most stolen vehicle in America.
A thief driving off with your vehicle isn’t all you have to worry about nowadays.Many victims have woken up to their Chevy truck wheel-less sitting on cinder blocks.
The couple in this Fox 4 news report had their truck’s windows smashed, gun stolen from the glove box, and Chevy wheels all taken from their driveway.
The victim expressed how creepy it was to wake up to that sight: “It’s scary to see this huge, heavy car on these tiny little bricks….they were so sly that they could just do this right under our noses.”
Even car dealerships have to worry about these thieves. The below Fox news report shows a dealership having 20 Chevys’ wheels and tires stolen overnight.
What’s crazy is that this dealership was located directly between the sheriff’s office and the police department in Seguin, Texas.
Again we see a false sense of security putting car owners (even car dealership owners) at risk!
Total Number Stolen: 9,594
Highest Ranking: 2nd in Florida
The 2015 Nissan Altima is a top-six stolen car in the U.S. as a whole and in 18 states, but at least it isn’t ranked first in any states.
Read on to find out how to get cheap Nissan Auto Insurance.
As you can see in the below video, car thieves don’t even need the key fob to drive away with your — previously locked — car.
Nissan’s famous “Intelligent Key System” is a handy feature for the car owner and the robber. “You don’t need to have a key. Just push the button on the ignition and it starts, and you’re good to go” the victim of the stolen vehicle shares with an ABC news reporter.
The stealth car thieves of today know how to use the advanced technology in newer vehicles to help them steal cars.
Total Number Stolen: 9,851
Highest Ranking: 1st in Iowa & Mississippi
Not only is this the 2nd Chevy Pickup truck to land on this most stolen list, but it is also the third straight year for full-sized Chevy Pickups to be top five most stolen vehicles in the country.
Since 2012 people have been warned that Chevy trucks are often targeted for auto theft:
In this CBS news report, Sergeant Luna gives advice to Chevy truck owners, “If you’re gonna park it in the driveway if you do have a secondary vehicle, park it behind it because, throughout our investigations, we’re seeing that they’re looking at Chevy pickup trucks.”
Here’s how full-sized Chevy pickup trucks ranked in our three studies and how many were stolen from American car owners:
In just two years there were 7,114 more Chevy trucks stolen in the U.S. — an alarming 30 percent increase!
Total Number Stolen: 16,853
Highest Ranking: 1st in eleven states!
The 1997 Honda Accord wins (by a long shot) for being the vehicle that is the number one stolen car in the most states.
In 22 percent of the Unites States, the ’97 Accord ranked first as the top stolen vehicle with 12,763 stolen in those 11 states alone in 2016.
Below is the list of the 11 states where the 1997 Accord is the number one stolen car and how many were stolen:
The Evergreen State at the northwestern tip of America had at least 2,809 more ’97 Accords stolen than all of the other states where it was also the number one stolen car.
In this video, even when it has “peeling paint and a broken front window” and is clearly “far from the nicest vehicle on the block,” the 1997 Accord is a top choice for thieves.
And sadly, victims of auto theft like Andrew Freedman need their vehicles to survive.
Total Number Stolen: 19,440
Highest Ranking: 1st in Florida, South Carolina & Texas
The third most stolen vehicle in the U.S. is yet another full-sized Ford pickup truck, just two years newer.
As we discussed above, the Ford Pickup truck has been a top-targeted vehicle for auto theft since we began this study three years ago, and there has been a steady increase in Ford truck robberies.
The 2006 full-sized Ford Pickup was the number one stolen vehicle in Florida, South Carolina, and Texas with a total of 10,229 of them stolen in those three states in 2016.
Just a couple years newer clearly makes a huge difference to thieves:
|Study:||2004 Ford |
This eye-opening video shows how difficult it can be to catch car thieves. One of the robbers was finally caught after stealing pickup trucks for over four years!
“Locked doors weren’t enough to keep the truck thieves out. They used tools to get past the doors and ignition” the news clip reports.
Stolen vehicles are often connected to other crimes as seen in the above video. In California and Texas, the stolen trucks are often used to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Mexican/U.S. border.
Total Number Stolen: 29,205
Highest Ranking: 1st in New Jersey
Not just one, but two Honda Accords are top five most stolen cars in America this year. The winner, oddly enough, is one year older.
Surprisingly, the ’96 Accord was only the number one stolen car in one state, while the ’97 was number one in eleven states (listed above).
Regardless, of rank by state, there were a whole lot more ’96 Honda Accords stolen each year:
|Study:||1996 Honda |
In the past three years, there has been as many as 23,684 more 1996 Accords stolen than the model one year newer.
This video explains why so many of these vehicles are being stolen each year:
“The Honda Accord continues to be a top seller at car dealerships throughout the United States…that means year after year there are more Accords on the road, getting into car accidents or needing parts for repair,” said the VP of LoJack.
He continued, “All of these factors result in an increased demand for parts to service Accords, which makes stealing this make and model a very lucrative business for the professional thief.”
It’s a bit disturbing to hear auto theft be referred to as a “lucrative business,” but when thieves can get as much as three times the value of the vehicle simply by selling parts in high-demand, that’s precisely what it is.
Total Number Stolen: 41,096
Highest Ranking: 1st in Arizona & California
The number one spot this year brings us to our forth Honda and second Civic for the most stolen vehicles in America.
Again we have a Honda that is older getting stolen more often:
|Study:||1998 Honda |
Unlike the ’96 Accord’s 16 percent decrease, the ’98 Civics have been stolen with consistent increases — up to 18 percent more in just one year!
This shocking video will give you a clear picture of what happens to many of the Civics after they are stolen:
A college student’s car gifted to him from his parents was stolen and then found the very next day just two miles from his home. Thanks to selfish thieves, the Honda Civic he once relied on became worthless in under twenty-four hours.
“The car was gutted from bumper to bumper. Everything was stripped, the entire engine, the seats, wiring, all gone” states the news reporter.
The dad in shock shows viewers: “This is what’s really amazing. They even took the windshield wiper blades.” Wondering if insurance will cover a stolen vehicle? For this Virginia resident, it did not:
“The damage done by the thieves isn’t covered by insurance. The only insurance now that could help salvage the situation would be to see whoever did this behind bars” as reported in the video.
How common are heartbreaking stories just like this one? Well, here are how many Honda Civics our three studies revealed being stolen across our nation:
In only two years, there were 5,648 more Civics stolen — a distressing 13 percent increase!
You may be suprised by the shocking trends we’ve discovered….
Above is the visual representation of where the highest and lowest rates of auto theft are located across America.
Based on auto theft by population, the states with the highest rates are RED and the states with the lowest rates are BLUE (see graphic above)
The Northeast is home to the majority of the states with the lowest rates of auto theft, and the areas with the highest rates cluster in the Midwest and along the West Coast.
|State:||Rate per 100,000 Residents:|
|#10 - Oklahoma||307.9|
|#9 - Oregon||313.6|
|#8 - Colorado||352.9|
|#7 - Hawaii||395.8|
|#6 - Alaska||411|
|#5 - D.C.||436.5|
|#4 - Washington||442.6|
|#3 - Nevada||448.3|
|#2 - California||450.3|
|#1 - New Mexico||559.2|
|State:||Rate per 100,000 Residents:|
|#10 - Idaho||123.2|
|#9 - West Virginia||121.7|
|#8 - Virginia||116.4|
|#7 - Massachusetts||115.8|
|#6 - Pennsylvania||101.5|
|#5 - Mississippi||100.4|
|#4 - New York||72.6|
|#3 - New Hampshire||62.5|
|#2 - Maine||58.2|
|#1 - Vermont||45.1|
For the second straight year, Hondas have dominated the Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicle charts filling 40 percent of the list:
|Vehicle:||Study & Rank:||# Stolen:|
|1996 Honda Accord||2017: 2nd||34,706|
|1997 Honda Accord||2017: 4th||13,174|
|1998 Honda Civic||2017: 1st||40,012|
|2000 Honda Civic||2017: 8th||5,771|
In our 2016 study, the Civic ranked the 2nd most stolen vehicle just behind the Accord at 1st.
Another trend in our studies we can’t ignore is that of the full-sized pickups. Taking up another 40 percent of our top ten this year are the pickup trucks made by Chevy and Ford:
|Vehicle:||Study & Rank:||# Stolen:|
|2004 Chevy Pickup||2017: 5th||8,090|
|2004 Ford Pickup||2017: 12th||5,020|
|2005 Chevy Pickup||2017: 57th||535|
|2006 Ford Pickup||2017: 3rd||20,750|
The biggest change we saw from 2017 to 2018 was for the 2005 Chevy Pickup which jumped from an obscure 57th place all the way up to 5th thanks to its off-the-charts 1,741 percent increase in the number that were stolen!
In our 2016 study, the Chevy pickup was ranked 4th just behind the Ford pickup at 3rd for the most stolen vehicles in the country.
Learn how to fight back….
Vehicles are “an indispensable part of our lives” as SaferCar puts it, and even older, used cars cost thousands of dollars.
In 2016 there were 765,484 vehicles stolen from their owners in America. Do all you can to avoid your car being part of this year’s total.
However, as we learned from the victims in the videos above, vehicles can be stolen even when the owner does everything right.
It is essential that you protect your investment with comprehensive car insurance that covers you in the event of vandalism and robbery. And as Geico advises: “If confronted by a carjacker, do not resist. Cars can be replaced; you can’t.”
Below are the leading sources used to derive the essential facts for our study:
The ranking system for our 2018 Most Stolen Vehicle countdown was determined by these main categories:
For all media inquiries, please email: Josh Barnes
Cheap Auto Insurance / Features