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Top 10 lists of stolen cars are often quite interesting. The fact is, thieves often steal cars for which they can make the most money selling parts from, which probably explains why, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the most stolen car in America at present is the 1994 Honda Accord.
From 1997 onwards, Honda started utilizing microchip car keys, making subsequent models of Accord harder to boost. The second most popular car on the NCIB’s top 10 list from last year was of similar vintage and also a Honda, in this case the 1995 Civic. With so many Accords of this generation left on the road, demand for spare parts is high, and thieves can make a pretty penny selling them to chop shops.
Third was the 1991 Toyota Camry, while the 1999 full-size Chevy Silverado pickup and 1997 Ford F-150 rounded out the top five (both new models for those respective years).
It’s also interesting to note that thieves have preferences depending on which part of the country vehicles are stolen; for example, Subaru Legacy wagons are popular targets in places like Maine, Oregon and Vermont, while big SUVs are a frequent choice in Texas. In Michigan, the top 10 list of cars stole consisted entirely of Domestic models. led by the 2000 Dodge Caravan and 1999 Ford Taurus.
Either stealing a car has become a lot more difficult or the thieves just threw in the towel and decided to try their hand at another career. One thing’s for sure – car thefts were down in 2009.
According to the FBI’s 2009 crime statistics released this week, vehicle thefts dropped 17 percent from 2008. The numbers fell 35.7 percent when compared to 2005 data.
But this doesn’t mean you can stop locking your car when you leave it. There were still 600,000 vehicles stolen last year. High on the “to steal” list is the 1994 Honda Accord for some strange reason (better gas millage perhaps – even thieves are thrifty these days).
But with good news comes some bad news. News from LoJack states that the national recovery rate for stolen cars is at its lowest point in 25 years. This means that 43.2 percent of vehicles stolen in 2009 were never recovered.
According to LoJack, these vehicles are typically stolen by professional thieves. They find their way to chop shops to be stripped down to their components. By stripping the cars down, thieves can make two to four times the vehicle’s actual worth.
Transported across the U.S. boarder, thousands of stolen vehicles are used to commit other crimes or resold as used vehicles, most often to unsuspecting customers. Damn those Canadians and their love of ’94 Accords!
Honda Accord tops list, followed closely by the Civic
A pair of Honda models hold the top two spots in the top ten most stolen vehicles in 2008.
The 1994 Honda Accord was number one while the 1995 Civic came in second on the list compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) Hot Wheels 2009 report. The report examined data from the National Crime Information Center to determine the make, model and year of the vehicles most reported stolen across the U.S. in 2008.
All of the top ten stolen vehicles were from 2004 and earlier, with the oldest model, the 1989 Toyota Camry, in third. According to the NICB, older cars and trucks are popular with thieves because their parts are more valuable. Thieves would strip cars down at underground chop shops and sell the parts for at least twice the value of the original vehicle on the used car market. The NICB says newer cars are less attractive to thieves because they have more anti-theft features.
For 2008 the most stolen vehicles were:
1. 1994 Honda Accord
2. 1995 Honda Civic
3. 1989 Toyota Camry
4. 1997 Ford F-150 Pickup
5. 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup
6. 2000 Dodge Caravan
7. 1996 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
8. 1994 Acura Integra
9. 1999 Ford Taurus
10. 2002 Ford Explorer
Overall, vehicle thefts were down 13.1 percent from 2007 figures, according to preliminary findings from the 2008 FBI Uniform Crime Report. That would make 2008 the fifth consecutive year that vehicle thefts had decreased. The report is still collecting information but total thefts may total under a million for the first time in 20 years.
“This is great news for vehicle owners, law enforcement and the insurance industry,” said Joe Wehrle, NICB president and chief executive officer. “It takes years of sustained effort to deliver the kinds of reductions that we are enjoying today. NICB joins with our member companies in acknowledging the great work performed by law enforcement and our investigators in the fight against vehicle theft.
“Comprehensive legislation, aggressive enforcement and rigorous prosecution are the three essential components to a winning crime control program. NICB is proud to contribute to each of those areas through our national legislative affairs program and our network of experienced investigators.”
The NICB urges vehicle owners to follow its “layered approach” to preventing theft:
-Common sense: Lock your car and take the keys with you.
-Warning device: Visible and audible warning devices deter thieves.
-Immobilizing device: Kill switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are effective.
-Tracking device: In the event of a theft, tracking devices send signals that help authorities recover stolen vehicles.
Official release after the jump: