Clunkers for thieves

September 3, 2009

About one million cars are stolen in the U.S. each year. Worried your car might be part of that statistic? A new report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a non-profit in Illinois, ranks the most stolen cars in the United States in a study fittingly titled Hot Wheels 2009. The study examines the make, model, and model year of each reported stolen car in 2008.

The numbers indicate you should be more concerned if your car is over ten years old. The number one stolen car is the 1994 Honda Accord, with over 55,000 stolen nationwide in 2008. One reason older vehicles are targeted more often is because they lack up-to-date anti-theft technology. According to the study’s news release, certain models of older cars are also more popular because their parts are valuable on the black market.

The report’s preliminary numbers show that 2008 could become the fifth year in a row that the number of auto thefts has declined. The NICB explains that the numbers are showing a 13.1 percent decrease from 2007. This means the total could be less than one million, which would be the lowest in twenty years. These numbers could continue to decline in the next several years due to the continuously improving anti-theft technology.

According to the Forbes article on the study, the best way to protect your car is common sense:

The best defense, of course, doesn’t involve expensive recovery systems or gadgets, but simple common sense. Keeping valuables like shopping bags, purses and loose change out of sight when you park your car is a legitimate theft deterrent, as is simply locking the car and taking the keys with you. No high-tech system will prevent pilfering if the keys are already in the ignition.”

Drumroll please…the top 5 cars stolen in the U.S. in 2008:

1. 1994 Honda Accord (55,170)

2. 1995 Honda Civic (48,073)

3. 1989 Toyota Camry (26,245)

4. 1997 Ford F-150 Pickup (17,416)

5. 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup (17,405)

Click here for the full list.


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