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'Hot Wheels': America’s most stolen cars

All the cars that thieves want most. Is your car on the list?

By Perry Stern Aug 21, 2013 6:43AM

1996 Honda Accord is the overall favorite among car thieves.It seems that thieves are still in love with Hondas -- both the Honda Accord and Honda Civic head up the list of the most stolen vehicles in America.


Compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, its annual "Hot Wheels" report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center  and determines the vehicle make and model reported as most stolen in 2012.


Older Honda Accords and Civics were by far the most stolen models in 2012. The 1996 Accord led the list with 8,637 thefts. In fact, the top 16 most stolen vehicles by year are Accords and Civics from 1990-2000. Of course, there were more of these cars on the road those years, but by comparison, newer Hondas are rarely stolen, thanks to improved anti-theft technology.


Each year, the NICB reviews all NCIC vehicle theft records to produce its national and state lists of the 10 most stolen vehicles. "Hot Wheels" is the only report that examines all theft data without regard to a vehicle’s insured status; if a vehicle was reported stolen to law enforcement, it is captured in this report.


Here are the 10 most stolen vehicles in 2012:


1.  Honda Accord

2.  Honda Civic

3.  Ford F-150

4.  Chevrolet Silverado

5.  Toyota Camry

6.  Dodge Grand Caravan

7.  Dodge Ram

8.  Acura Integra

9.  Nissan Altima

10. Nissan Maxima 


According to the NICB, the peak year for auto theft was 1991 with 1,661,738 vehicles stolen.  If the FBI’s preliminary 2012 vehicle theft estimate holds, there will have been roughly 724,672 thefts. That’s a national decrease of over 50 percent since the 1991 peak.


A new list from the NICB may hit a bit closer to home for many car owners. These are the 10 most stolen 2012 model-year vehicles:


1.  Nissan Altima

2.  Chevrolet Impala

3.  Chevrolet Malibu

4.  Toyota Camry

5.  Ford Fusion

6.  Ford F-150

7.  Ford Focus

8.  Chrysler 200

9.  Dodge Charger

10. Dodge Avenger


Even if you drive an older Honda, there are ways to keep your car off the list. Here are some suggestions from the NICB.


Common sense. Lock your car and take your keys. It’s simple enough, but many thefts occur because owners make it easy for thieves to steal their cars.


Warning device. Having and using a visible or audible warning device is another item that can ensure your car remains where you left it.


Immobilizing device. Generally speaking, if your vehicle can’t be started, it can’t be stolen. Kill switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are among the devices that are extremely effective.


Tracking device. A tracking device emits a signal to the police or to a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ “telematics,” which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.

Aug 21, 2013 9:10AM
best anti-theft device is a manual transmission
Aug 21, 2013 10:34AM
forget low-jack use a BLOW-JACK. just place a remote activated explosive device under the seat and if stolen blow it up,  the police will think the thieves had a bomb, just make sure you have full car replacement insurance. I feel the police should add this to the bait car program, it would make for a much more interesting TV show. Another good alarm would be a 200 decibel siren inside the car.
Aug 21, 2013 9:09AM
If parts for those models weren't so expensive, they'd be on the bottom of another list.  Hey remember when "vintage  and used car part" companies used to be called "salvage yards?"  When I was a kid, they were called "Junk Yards."
Aug 21, 2013 9:53AM
If a thief wants your vehicle bad enough, they'll get it regardless of how many anit-theft gadgets you employ.  Here in NJ, thieves just back up a flatbed tow truck, hook the car up and simply drag it onto the flatbed and they're gone.  They can jack a car or small truck in less than 2 mins without damaging it or attracting attention. 
Aug 21, 2013 10:04AM
Best security system is my German Shepard.
Aug 21, 2013 10:18AM
I walked out of a local restaurant and a man was trying to hook up to my SUV to load it on a Flat Bed truck. I had parked at the end of the parking lot. I was with a group of people, I yelled, " What are you doing?!" He said, " I was called to pick this SUV up." I said, " NO, you were not!"  and he had his stuff back in his truck before I could get to my car and it wasn't that far off. I drove over to the next parking lot just to see if he might of had his lots mixed up, he was no where to be seen. I have always felt that I walked out on him stealing my Tahoe.
Aug 21, 2013 10:55AM
The best anti theft system is to drive  a car that is a bigger piece of sh-t than the thieves have and leave the windows down so they can see the trashed seats and the garbage in the back and a sign on the windshield saying be right ran out of gas.
Aug 21, 2013 10:09AM
These lists are stupid.  It should be a percentage of models on the road.  This might as well be a list of the cars Americans drive the most.  If there was a car that sold 10,000 models and 10,000 were stolen it might not make this list.
Aug 21, 2013 9:28AM

I used that bar that locked on your steering wheel that made it impossible to steer.   A car thief got right through that thing.

Aug 21, 2013 9:06AM
I lived in Southern California and watched a gang strip a honda Civic in twelve minutes at a in and out berger parking lot by Oxnard... by the time people realized what was happening they were gone.
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