Crossovers and sport-utility vehicles are big business in the U.S. -- not just among shoppers, but also with car thieves. Could your ride be targeted next? The National Insurance Crime Bureau has sifted through nearly five years of data to identify the most-stolen models and the areas of the country that criminals prefer.
NICB reviewed car theft stats from January 1, 2008, to June 30, 2012. The organization wanted to focus primarily on thefts of new vehicles, so its study only included crossovers and SUVs from the 2009, 2010, and 2011 model years. That left the NICB with 19,961 incidents of theft to examine.
Four of the five most-stolen SUVs and crossovers came from Detroit automakers:
- Ford Escape: 1,014 thefts
- Chevrolet Tahoe: 856 thefts
- Toyota RAV4: 801 thefts
- Ford Edge: 739 thefts
- Dodge Journey: 721 thefts
But owning one of those vehicles doesn't necessarily make you a target for crime. Where you live also has a significant effect on your likelihood of being ripped off. Not surprisingly, the more populous states tended to report more thefts of SUVs and crossovers:
- California: 3,003 thefts
- Texas: 1,826 thefts
- Florida: 1,784 thefts
- New York: 1,754 thefts
- Michigan: 1,367 thefts
But that's not the whole story, because you also have to take into account where you live in that state. New York state, for example, had just over half the thefts that California did, but the New York City metro region (which includes parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania) far outpaced the state as a whole. Similarly, of Michigan's 1,367 SUV and crossover thefts, 1,215 took place in the Detroit-Warren-Livonia area. Here's a list of the five most active metro areas:
- New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island (NY, NJ, PA): 2,438 thefts
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana (CA): 1,229 thefts
- Detroit-Warren-Livonia (MI): 1,215 thefts
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach (FL): 910 thefts
- Chicago-Joliet-Naperville (IL): 762 thefts
In calculating your risk, you also have to consider the likelihood of your stolen vehicle ever being found. In the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island area, the NICB learned that nearly one-third of stolen SUVs and crossovers were never recovered. In other parts of the country, the stats were closer to 10%.
And last but not least, you should know that certain makes and models are less likely to be recovered than others. For example, of the 402 Toyota Highlanders stolen during the period examined by the NICB, 29.9% -- nearly one-third -- were never found. Here's a list of the five SUVs and crossovers most likely to remain on the lam:
- Toyota Highlander: 29.9% unrecovered
- Jeep Wrangler: 28.6% unrecovered
- Cadillac Escalade: 23.5% unrecovered
- Nissan Murano: 19.2% unrecovered
- Lexus RX: 18.7% unrecovered
Interestingly, although stolen Cadillac Escalades have a high chance of going missing for good, the NICB also notes that, contrary to some news reports, the Escalade has never achieved the dubious distinction of being #1 on the most-stolen list. In fact, looking at data going back about eight years, the Escalade has never appeared on the top-ten list at all.
Need a refresher on the difference between SUVs and crossovers? Check out this quick and easy overview.