As you walk away from your unlocked early 2000s pickup truck, you might think to yourself, “Who would want that old thing?” The fact is, you’d be surprised at what some people are willing to steal.
Car thieves are opportunists, plain and simple. It is a well-known fact in these criminal circles that old pickup trucks are notoriously easy to steal. Without modern locking mechanisms, you could pop open the door with a screwdriver, crowbar, or even a wire hanger. Once inside, there is nothing stopping a thief from driving away with your dad’s hand-me-down Chevy.
Continue reading to learn more about what cars are most likely to be stolen and what you can do to ensure your car’s safety.
The Most Commonly Stolen Cars
According to the most recent information from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), here is a list of the most commonly stolen cars in 2019:
- Ford full sized pickup trucks from 2006
- Honda Civics from 2000
- Chevrolet full sized pickup trucks from 2004
- Honda Accords from 1997
- Toyota Camrys from 2007
This data supports what we mentioned before; cars from the late ‘90s to early 2000s are more likely to be stolen than today’s newer models. Possible reasons for these rates include a lack of security features, accessibility, and resell value.
What Prevents Modern Cars from Being Stolen?
Car thieves rarely target modern cars simply because they are too secure. Even something simple like a car alarm can turn a thief on their heels. Some technological advances that keep newer-model cars from being stolen include:
If you bought an alarm system for your car, make sure that it’s in a visible place, like on your dashboard. Car thieves know how to recognize alarm systems. IF they even see one, odds are, they won’t bother.
Some cars go into “lockdown” if they sense that someone is trying to break in. For instance, if a thief is trying to hotwire a car, the vehicle’s sensors may detect this. In turn, this can cause the car to:
- Disable the transmission
- Prevent the wheels from turning
- “Kill” the ignition
- Disable the fuel pump
- Require additional methods of authorization to work
Today, many cars have built-in GPS systems. This does not just help you get from place to place; it also allows you to track down your car if it is stolen.Your Car’s Color Is a Factor Thieves Consider
There is a general misconception that red cars are stolen more often than any other type of car. Makes sense, right? If you had to choose between stealing a red or white car, you would want the one that’s more appealing, right? Wrong. In fact, white and black cars are more likely to be stolen.
This is because of the following reasons:
- These types of cars are easier to blend in.
- The resale value of these cars is generally higher.
- White, black, and grey cars are considered to be “classy.”
The Hub, an Australian publication, says that green cars are more likely to be stolen than any other vehicle color. However, there is no telling whether this statistic applies to us here in the United States. After all, when was the last time you saw a neon green car?Car Thefts Happen in More Locations Than Others
When you think of cities that have high car theft rates, you probably imagine densely-populated areas like New York City, Chicago, and Miami.
While these places do have high crime rates, the NICB says that when adjusted for population and size, Albuquerque, New Mexico, had the highest rate of car thefts in 2019, followed by:
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Bakersfield, California
- Pueblo, Colorado
- Modesto, California
There is no information about why these locations were hotspots for car thefts.
If My Car Is Stolen, Will It Be Found?
If your car was stolen, a variety of factors will determine whether or not it will be recovered. These factors include:
- How quickly you reported the incident
- If your car was equipped with GPS or other tracking devices
- What the thieves intended to do with your car
- If your car was used in a crime (like an armed robbery)
According to data gathered by Statista, odds are, you will get your car back (potentially without any damages). You have a 56.1% chance of getting your car back. Odds are, however, that your car will have suffered some kind of damage.
How Do I Know if My Car Was Stolen?
After finding your car’s parking spot empty, you may think, “Maybe I didn’t really park here.” It’s perfectly normal to have that initial thought before suspecting that your car is stolen.
If you have a good reason to think that someone took your car, follow your intuition and call the police immediately. If you do not want to jump to this option right away, try:
- Pressing the “panic” button on your car key
- Locating your car via the app (if your model comes with one)
- Retracing your steps
If you end up finding your car, and you already called the police, you would not get in trouble for this. You would only find yourself in hot water if you knowingly reported a false crime.
Use Common Sense at All Time
If Smokey the Bear had a brother, he might say, “Only you can prevent car thefts.” When leaving your car unattended––even for a few minutes––you should take the following measures to prevent theft:
- Lock your car doors
- Leave valuables (like your phone, purse, and wallet) out of sight
- Do not leave your garage opener in your vehicle
- Do not leave personal information (like your car’s registration) in your vehicle
If your car is stolen, call the police before you call the insurance company. That way, the police can send out an APB about the matter and start working on recovering your car.
When you’re driving a new car off the lot, the last thing you think about is it falling into the wrong hands. Even though cars from the early 2000s are more likely to be stolen than their modern counterparts, this does not mean that you should forsake common sense.
You can learn more about what measures could deter car thieves by clicking here.