Have you ever had your vehicle stolen? According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), a motor vehicle was stolen every 44 seconds in the U.S. in 2012. For the victims, this is a terrible experience, as it is not only a vehicle that is lost, it’s all of the personal belongings inside of the vehicle as well as the victim’s feeling of safety and security.
Why do people steal cars? Stolen-Property.com says thieves may be motivated by the money they can get from selling the car or its parts, the desire to clone the vehicle, use the vehicle to commit other crimes, or even use the vehicle to go joyriding.
Auto theft warning devices (like alarms), tracking devices (like Onstar), and immobilizing devices (like kill switches) help prevent auto theft, but you can also take a few common sense precautions, like parking in well-lit areas, to help reduce the likelihood that your vehicle will be stolen.
If your car is unlocked, you leave your keys in the car, or if you leave valuables in plain sight, the chance of your car being stolen is 1 in 30. However, if you lock your vehicle, remove your keys, and hide any valuables, you reduce your chances to 1 in 1,000. Further, if you take the aforementioned precautionary measures (remove keys, conceal valuables, and lock your car) and add a visible anti-theft device, your chances are incredibly small — only around 1 in 30,000. Your odds of being struck by lightning during your lifetime are higher.
Although the chance of auto theft is small, the chance does still exist and in some cites, your chances are higher than others. These are the cities where auto theft is the most prevalent, based on data from the III.
- Bakersfield, California – 725.24 thefts per 100,000 people
- Fresno, California – 706.61 thefts per 100,000 people
- Modesto, California – 678.64 thefts per 100,000 people
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California – 649.34 thefts per 100,000 people
- Stockton-Lodi, California – 633.61 thefts per 100,000 people
All of the top five cities are located in California (sorry, California). Fortunately for the Golden State, it has a lot of other benefits, like beauty and a temperate climate.
In addition to where you live, the type of vehicle you drive also may increase or decrease your chances of being a victim of vehicle theft. In 2012, the III found that the following passenger vehicles had the highest levels of auto theft:
- Honda Accord – 58,596 thefts (as of 2012)
- Honda Civic – 47,037 thefts
- Full-sized Ford Pickup – 26,770 thefts
- Full-sized Chevrolet Pickup – 23,745 thefts
- Toyota Camry – 16,251 thefts
Drivers of vehicles that are at higher risk of theft may want to take extra precautions, like parking in secured home garages and also, ensuring their insurance covers vehicle theft claims.