Auto Theft

Auto Theft

MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT

The FBI includes the theft or attempted theft of automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles and other vehicles in its definition of motor vehicle theft. A motor vehicle is stolen on average every 46 seconds in the United States.

Vehicle thefts have been trending downward in the 23 years since they peaked at 1,661,738 in 1991, falling 58 percent to 699,594 in 2013, according to a 2014 report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). As a result, 56 percent of Americans rarely or never worry that their car will be stolen, according to a 2014 Gallop poll. The NICB credits law enforcement efforts, along with the creation of specific antitheft programs, technology and insurance company-supported organizations such as the NICB for contributing to the theft reduction.

Despite the reduction in vehicle thefts over the past two decades, industry observers caution that thieves constantly devise new and sophisticated means of stealing autos. Tactics include acquiring smart keys, which eliminated hot-wiring to steal cars; switching vehicle identification numbers; and using stolen identities to secure loans for expensive vehicles.

Motor Vehicle Theft In The United States, 2005-2014

Year Vehicles stolen Percent change
2005 1,235,859 -0.2%
2006 1,198,245 -3.0
2007 1,100,472 -8.2
2008 959,059 -12.9
2009 795,652 -17.0
2010 739,565 -7.0
2011 716,508 -3.1
2012 723,186 0.9
2013 700,288 -3.2
2014 689,527 -1.5

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports.

View Archived Tables

  • Motor vehicles were stolen at a rate of 216.2  per 100,000 people in 2014, down 2.3 percent from 2013 and down 48.1 percent from 2005.
  • More than $4.5 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2014. The average dollar loss per theft was $6,537.

Top 10 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas By Motor Vehicle Theft Rate, 2015

 

Rank Metropolitan Statistical Area (1) Vehicles stolen Rate (2)
1 Modesto, Ca 4,072 756.33
2 Albuquerque, N.M. 6,657 733.71
3 Bakersfield, CA 6,000 680.14
4 Salinas, CA 2,934 676.20
5 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 30,554 656.21
6 Stockton-Lodi, CA 4,656 641.23
7 Pueblo, CO 983 600.89
8 Merced, CA 1,605 597.87
9 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 25,001 556.92
10 Vallejo-Fairfield, CA 2,352 539.34

(1) Metropolitan Statistical Areas are designated by the federal Office of Management and Budget and usually include areas much larger than the cities for which they are named.
(2) Rate of vehicle thefts reported per 100,000 people based on the 2015 U.S. Census Population Estimates.

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau.

View Archived Tables

  • Seven of the top 10 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas for motor vehicle theft were in California in 2014. Two were in Washington and one was in Texas.

 

TOP 10 STATES WITH THE MOST AND THE FEWEST NUMBER OF MOTOR VEHICLE THEFTS, 2014

   Most motor vehicle thefts   Fewest motor vehicle thefts
Rank State Vehicles stolen Rank State Vehicles stolen
1 California 151,852 1 Vermont 244
2 Texas 68,546 2 Wyoming 603
3 Florida 42,579 3 Maine 799
4 Washington 30,647 4 New Hampshire 857
5 Georgia 26,854 5 South Dakota 1,007
6 Michigan 21,157 6 Delaware 1,267
7 Ohio 18,015 7 North Dakota 1,514
8 Arizona 17,587 8 Idaho 1,661
9 Illinois 17,451 9 Alaska 1,739
10 Missouri 16,357 10 Rhode Island 1,833

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reports.

View Archived Tables

 

MOST STOLEN VEHICLES

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that the Honda Accord was the most frequently stolen passenger vehicle in 2015, with 52,244 thefts among all model years of this car. The Honda Civic ranked second, with 49,430 thefts. The NICB notes that older Honda Accords and Civics account for most of these thefts. Newer Hondas are stolen less frequently, due to improved anti-theft technology, but the number of newer models stolen shows that criminals can still steal them through hacking and other means. Among 2015 model year vehicles, the Nissan Altima was the most frequently stolen vehicle in calendar year 2015, with 1,104 thefts, followed by the Chrysler 200 with 1,069 thefts. The following chart shows the most frequently stolen vehicles in the nation during calendar year 2015 along with the top 10 model year 2015 vehicles that were most frequently stolen.

 

Top 10 Most Frequently Stolen Vehicles, 2015

All model years (1) 2015 model year vehicles only
Rank Model Thefts Rank Model Thefts
1 Honda Accord 52,244 1 Nissan Altima 1,104
2 Honda Civic 49,430 2 Chrysler 200 1,069
3 Ford Pickup (Full size) 29,396 3 Toyota Camry 923
4 Chevrolet Pickup (Full size) 27,771 4 Toyota Corolla 776
5 Toyota Camry 15,446 5 GMC Sierra 670
6 Dodge Pickup (Full size) 11,212 6 Dodge Charger 666
7 Toyota Corolla 10,547 7 Hyundai Sonata 632
8 Nissan Altima 10,374 8 Chevrolet Malibu 629
9 Dodge Caravan 9,798 9 Chevrolet Impala 594
10 Chevrolet Impala 9,225 10 Chevrolet Cruze 586

(1) Includes all model years for each vehicle.

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau.

View Archived Tables

 

HOLIDAYS RANKED BY THE NUMBER OF VEHICLE THEFTS, 2014

 

Rank (1) Holiday Number of thefts
1 Labor Day 2,200
2 New Year's Day 2,011
3 Halloween 2,010
4 Memorial Day 1,933
5 Independence Day 1,877
6 New Year's Eve 1,858
7 Valentine's Day 1,750
7 Christmas Eve 1,750
8 President's Day 1,695
9 Thanksgiving 1,384
10 Christmas Day 1,225

(1) Holidays with the same number of thefts receive the same rank number.

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

View Archived Tables

  • By comparison, the day in all of 2014 with the most vehicle thefts was July 7 with 2,361 thefts.