Everybody loves a "top ten" list. At work, at home, in the dentist's office, we happily tumble into slideshows of the world's Top Ten Vacation Spots, America's Top Ten Entrepreneurs, or for the meta-minded, David Letterman's Top Ten Top Ten Lists.
But some top ten lists aren't so lovable -- like, say, the world's Top Ten Murder Hotspots, or the Top Ten Deadliest Diseases. Also in that number: the National Insurance Crime Bureau's Top Ten Most-Stolen Vehicles.
The NICB is a nonprofit aligned with insurance companies and law enforcement agencies, and its mission is to fight car theft and auto insurance fraud. Every year around this time, the NICB publishes its lists of vehicles that car thieves covet, and this year is no exception.
The bad news is, based on auto theft records from 2014, it appears that no type of vehicle is truly safe from ne'er-do-wells. Sedans, trucks, crossovers, and even minivans can all be found on the NICB's most-stolen lists.
The good news is, our vehicles are becoming much harder to steal, thanks to a range of safety features and factory-installed and aftermarket theft deterrent devices. As you'll see, current-year vehicles make up just a tiny percentage of the total population of vehicles stolen.
For 2014, older foreign cars and domestic pickups were the most frequent targets of bad guys and gals. NICB says that the most-stolen vehicles from any model year were:
1. Honda Accord (51,290 vehicles stolen)
2. Honda Civic (43,936)
3. Ford full-size pickup* (28,680)
4. Chevrolet full-size pickup (23,196)
5. Toyota Camry (14,605)
6. Dodge full-size pickup (11,075)
7. Dodge Caravan (10,483)
8. Nissan Altima (9,109)
9. Acura Integra (6,902)
10. Nissan Maxima (6,586)
The lineup changes a good bit when the NICB focuses solely on vehicles from the 2014 model year. Though a couple of models repeat, there a lot of different marques on this list, half of which consists of cars from Detroit. The ten most-stolen 2014 model year vehicles were:
1. Ford full-size pickup (964 vehicles stolen)
2. Toyota Camry (869)
3. Ford Fusion (819)
4. Chevrolet Impala (746)
5. Nissan Altima (687)
6. Dodge Charger (680)
7. Taotao Industry Co. Scooter/Moped (592)
8. Toyota Corolla (578)
9. Chevrolet Cruze (566)
10. Ford Focus (505)
The NICB doesn't draw many conclusions about the differences between the two lists. However, it would appear that late-model Detroit-brand cars are either more desirable for auto thieves or easier to steal than their Japanese counterparts. Notably, there are no European or South Korean brands on either list.
The NICB has several common-sense suggestions that can help you thwart auto thieves. Among them: always take your keys, turn on your car alarm, and if you don't already have a kill switch or tracking device on your vehicle, consider having one (or both) installed.
If you'd like to know which hot cars are hottest in your state, check out the NICB's state-by-state map of auto theft.
* The NICB defines a full-size pickup as one with a carrying capacity of one half-ton or greater.