Facts + Statistics: 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. About $6 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2017. The average dollar loss per theft was $7,708. Motor vehicles were stolen at a rate of 237.4 per 100,000 people in 2017, virtually unchanged from 237.3 in 2016 but down 24.7 percent from 2008. In 2017, 773,139 vehicles were stolen, up 0.8 percent from 767,290 vehicles in 2016. One motor vehicle theft was reported every 40.9 seconds in the United States in 2017. 

Vehicle thefts have been trending downward in the 25 years since they peaked at 1.7 million in 1991, falling 46 percent to 765,484 in 2016, according to the FBI. The National Insurance Crime Bureau 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. However, there was an uptick in the number of vehicles stolen in 2015 and 2016, up by 3.8 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively. In addition, preliminary data from the FBI show that in the first half of 2017, vehicle thefts increased by another 4.1 percent.

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. The number of vehicles stolen with the key or keyless entry device left inside by the owner climbed 22 percent in 2015 to 57,096, according to the NICB.

Motor Vehicle Theft In The United States, 2008-2017

 

Year Vehicles stolen Percent change
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 686,803 -1.9
2015 713,063 3.8
2016 767,290 7.6
2017 773,139 0.8

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

View Archived Tables

  • Motor vehicles were stolen at a rate of 236.9 per 100,000 people in 2016, up 6.6 percent from 2015 but down 35.1 percent from 2007.
  • About $5.9 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2016. The average dollar loss per theft was $7,680.

Top 10 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas By Motor Vehicle Theft Rate, 2017

 

Rank Metropolitan Statistical Area (1) Vehicles stolen Rate (2)
1 Albuquerque, NM 9,989 1,096.82
2 Anchorage, AK 3,274 816.69
3 Pueblo, CO 1,353 812.73
4 Redding, CA 1,352 751.44
5 St. Joseph, MO 952 749.99
6 Bakersfield, CA 6,560 734.50
7 Modesto, CA 3,870 706.33
8 Stockton-Lodi, CA 4,575 613.74
9 Yuba City, CA 1,050 604.56
10 Springfield, MO 2,686 580.92

(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 2017 U.S. Census Population Estimates.

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau.

View Archived Tables

  • Five of the top 10 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas for motor vehicle theft were in California in 2017. The other five were in New Mexico, Alaska, Colorado, and Missouri.

Top 10 States With The Most And The Fewest Number Of Motor Vehicle Thefts, 2017

 

Most motor vehicle thefts Fewest motor vehicle thefts
Rank State Vehicles stolen Rank State Vehicles stolen
1 California 168,391 1 Vermont 194
2 Texas 68,041 2 Wyoming 779
3 Florida 42,914 3 Maine 793
4 Washington 28,796 4 New Hampshire 915
5 Georgia 26,263 5 Delaware 1,369
6 Colorado 21,861 6 South Dakota 1,383
7 Illinois 20,881 7 Rhode Island 1,483
8 Ohio 20,253 8 North Dakota 1,773
9 Missouri 19,921 9 Idaho 2,146
10 Michigan 19,573 10 D.C. 2,587

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

View Archived Tables

Motorcycle Thefts, 2017

Top five motorcycle makes stolen Top five states by motorcycle thefts Top five cities by motorcycle thefts
Rank Make Thefts Rank State Thefts Rank City Thefts
1 American Honda Motor Co., Inc. 8,781 1 California 7,532 1 New York, NY 980
2 Yamaha Motor Corporation 7,298 2 Florida 4,323 2 San Diego, CA 846
3 American Suzuki Motor Corporation 5,530 3 Texas 3,525 3 Los Angeles, CA 833
4 Harley Davidson, Inc. 5,138 4 South Carolina 1,732 4 Las Vegas, NV 583
5 Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. 5,101 5 North Carolina 1,632 5 Miami, FL 575

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Most stolen vehicles

The Honda Civic was the most frequently stolen passenger vehicle in 2017, with 45,062 thefts among all model years of this car, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).  The bureau notes that most of these thefts were older models that lack the anti-theft technology of today’s models.  In fact, there were 6,707 thefts of the 1998 model year Civic, but only 388 of the 2017 Civics. The Honda Accord ranked second, with 43,764 thefts. Among 2017 model year vehicles, the Nissan Altima was the most frequently stolen vehicle in calendar year 2017, with 1,153 thefts, followed by the Toyota Camry with 1,100 thefts.

Top 10 Most Frequently Stolen Vehicles, 2017

 

All model years (1)   2017 model year vehicles only
Rank Model Thefts Rank Model Thefts
1 Honda Civic 45,062 1 Nissan Altima 1,153
2 Honda Accord 43,764 2 Toyota Camry 1,100
3 Ford Pickup (Full size) 35,105 3 GMC Pickup (Full size) 957
4 Chevrolet Pickup (Full size) 30,058 4 Hyundai Elantra 929
5 Toyota Camry 17,278 5 Ford Fusion 874
6 Nissan Altima 13,358 6 Ford Pickup (Full size) 842
7 Toyota Corolla 12,337 7 Ram Pickup 835
8 Dodge Pickup (Full size) 12,004 8 Toyota Corolla 832
9 GMC Pickup (Full size) 10,865 9 GMC Savana 774
10 Chevrolet Impala 9,487 10 Hyundai Sonata 759

(1) Includes all model years for each vehicle.

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau.

View Archived Tables

Holidays Ranked by the Number of Vehicle Thefts, 2017

 

Rank Holiday Number of thefts
1 New Year’s Day 2,469
2 President’s Day 2,312
3 Halloween  2,297
4 Memorial Day 2,290
5 Labor Day 2,180
6 Valentine’s Day 2,169
7 Independence Day 2,124
8 New Year’s Eve 1,962
9 Christmas Eve 2,054
10 Thanksgiving 1,777
11 Christmas Day 1,664

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

View Archived Tables

Back to top