The National Insurance Crime Bureau has just published a report on U.S. car thefts that may serve as a wake-up call to owners of older vehicles (and drivers of pickup trucks).
The report focused on 2013 model-year vehicles stolen between January 1, 2012 and June 30, 2014. Here are some of the tastier takeaways:
- In total, 34,610 vehicles from model-year 2013 were stolen during the 30-month period.
- The average recovery rate for all vehicles (not just 2013 models) was 50 percent during the study period, but among 2013 model-year vehicles, the rate was a very impressive 88 percent. According to the NICB's Joe Wehrle, that's a direct result of high-tech features found on newer models: "That new car smell may attract thieves, but the anti-theft technology built into today's cars is a sure fire repellant for all but the most determined professionals".
- California accounted for nearly 20 percent of all thefts, with 6,818 reported. Florida came in second at 3,617, with Texas recording 3,037, and Michigan at 2,711.
- That said, two of those states had especially high recovery rates: California's was 92 percent, and Michigan's was 93 percent. The NICB didn't offer an explanation for Florida's 86 percent recovery rate, but suggested that Texas' 83 percent rate was a result of stolen cars being driven into Mexico, where they're harder to track down.
- As you can see from the chart above, the most-stolen 2013 model in America was the Nissan Altima. It was followed by that perennial best-seller, the Ford F-Series, the Ford Fusion, the Chevrolet Impala, and the Toyota Corolla.
- The least-recovered-vehicle chart is a bit different, though, with the Ford F-Series taking top "honors". Of the 1,290 F-Series units stolen, 206 -- or 16 percent -- remain missing. America's second-best-selling vehicle, the Chevrolet Silverado, followed at a distance, with 24 percent -- 147 out of 613 stolen trucks -- still unfound.
- Thanks to tracking devices, remote kill-switches, and other theft deterrents, stolen cars are getting easier to recover. As a result, thieves are resorting to new tactics -- namely, identity theft, which allows them to buy or lease vehicles in someone else's name. The NICB suggests that you check your credit report regularly to ensure that you're not the victim of ID theft.
Bottom line: if you want to avoid being the victim of car thieves, invest in a newer model and keep an eye on your credit. Oh, and maybe avoid trucks for now.
If you like, you can download a PDF of the NICB's complete report here.