What is it that you love about a car? What are its characteristics that make you want to own it? Is it the speed, towing strength, leg room, color, or manual transmission?
Perhaps you prefer the safety features. Maybe you want something that’s great in the snow during the winter months, but great on gas mileage.
The different qualities of a vehicle that you’re looking for varies widely based on your personal preferences. Indeed, it is this wide input on the matter that allows this many makes and models to exist.
A car thief is wearing a different set of glasses though. They look at the “car market” from a different perspective. Where the car owners could look at any one of hundreds of choices, the car thief is really only looking at about five. What this means for you is that if you own any of the vehicles we’ll be covering in this post you’ll need to take extra precautions to protect your property.
It’s well worth it to protect your property because not only can having your car stolen be devastating, there are also a lot of hassles that go along with it that most people don’t think about. For example, there are the insurance claims, there’s the loss of personal possessions within the vehicle and also there’s getting the loan paid off if you have a traditional loan or an auto title loan on your vehicle.
To get a better idea of why thieves might want your car let’s take a second to get inside their heads and cover the top stolen cars and why thieves love them.
Hondas, Hondas, Hondas!
First up is the Honda Accord. Far and away, the Accord was the most stolen car in 2012. 58,596 were reported missing. More were probably stolen and never made their way into the FBI’s statistic’s book.
The second one up is a Honda again. This time, it’s the Civic, bringing in an estimate of 47,037 stolen on the year.
So what’s up with Honda? The next closest car on the charts rates in at about half the number of the Civic alone. Why are they the most stolen cars in America?
Two reasons: the first is because they’re old and easy to break into. The majority of the models stolen ranged from 1990 to 2000. They were 12 plus years old and there’s hardly any security on them. Thieves don’t want to get caught so they look for the easiest, not the most expensive, targets.
The second is that they break the cars into pieces and sell the individual parts. These are some of the most commonly owned cars in America. Since these vehicles are still puttering around in abundance (the Japanese really know how to make them last forever), there are plenty of customers out there that just need a door, or a radiator to make the car run for another 50,000 miles. Since Honda doesn’t make them anymore and/or the prices for parts are far too expensive to be worth it, they look for used opportunities. Thieves provide those used opportunities, unbeknownst to the part buyer.
That said, Honda has definitely learned from their mistakes (having been at the top of this list for a couple years now). If you look at the most commonly stolen newer vehicles, Honda doesn’t come close to the top.
Full Size Ford Pickups
The third favorite car of thieves was the Ford pickup (full size). It weighed in at 26,770 cars. Turns out it was a 90’s truck that thieves were targeting so often. Why were these stolen? Parts and convenience. Again, the thief is never going to make it hard on himself for fear that he might get caught.
Chevrolet and Toyota
Fourth is the Chevy pickup (full size) coming in at 23,745, and fifth is the Toyota Camry at 16,251. The vast majority of these statistics have to do with the older models of cars. They present such each targets that it makes sense to make them a target.
Fortunately, if you have one of these top 5 cars, there are steps you can take to deter them.
First, park in a garage. Don’t leave it on the street. Second, if you can’t avoid that, then park it in well-lit and populated areas at night. Thieves prefer the cover of darkness to accomplish their deeds.
Third, leave the inside of the car bare boned. Don’t leave anything within sight as that can be the temptation for thieves.
Fourth, never leave your title to the car in the vehicle itself. It’s almost a no-brainer, but a thief can forge your signature and sign it over to themselves.
Fifth, lock the car always. Sixth, keep a careful eye on your keys.
Seventh, old technology can use old safety measures. Ever use a wheel lock before? Thieves aren’t always ready for that one in a day of alarms and auto locks.
In 2012, the FBI estimates that about 724,000 cars were stolen. Assuming that each vehicle retained an amount of about $5,000 each, that equates to 3.6 billion in hard earned cash (some of which was still owed to the bank). That’s quite the haul. Don’t become a victim of that statistic this year.