My car was recently stolen. And no matter how the investigation turns out, there is no outcome that can erase the emptiness felt when I walked outside and realized that my car was gone. But I’m far from the sole victim in this story, as hundreds of thousands of vehicles are stolen every year. According to the FBI, there were 765,484 motor vehicle thefts nationwide in 2016.
But not all cars are created equal, as some are far more apt to be targeted by a car thief. In an effort to highlight this criminal pattern, the National Insurance Crime Bureau shared a list of the most stolen used cars, with the “most popular” model years noted and the total number of units taken for each brand during the past calendar year:
Honda Accord (1997), 50,427 stolen
Honda Civic (1998), 49,547
Ford F-Series Pickup (2006), 32,721
Chevrolet Silverado Pickup (2004), 31,238
Toyota Camry (2016), 16,732
Nissan Altima (2015), 12,221
Ram Pickup (2001), 12,128
Toyota Corolla (2015), 11,989
Chevrolet Impala (2008), 9,749
Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee (2000), 9,245
In the end, professional thieves can steal any car. To combat this reality, the NICB suggests making the criminal work harder to steal your car by using “layered protection.” The more layers of protection on your vehicle, the more difficult it is to steal.
Layer 1: Always use common sense
- Lock your doors.
- Remove your keys from the ignition.
- Close your windows completely.
- Park in well-lit areas.
Layer 2: Use a visible or audible device
- Audible alarms
- Steering column collars
- Steering wheel/brake pedal lock
- Brake locks
- Wheel locks
- Theft-deterrent decals
- Identification markers in or on vehicle
- Window etching
- Micro Dot marking
Layer 3: Install a vehicle immobilizer
- Smart keys
- Fuse cut-offs
- Kill switches
- Starter, ignition and fuel disablers
- Wireless, ignition authentication
Layer 4: Invest in a tracking system
Put your vehicle on the radar screen by installing a tracking system that emits a signal to the police or monitoring service when the vehicle is reported stolen. 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 by computer.