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Car Thieves Favor Foreign Cars

By Insurance.com Posted : 03/01/2007
Car thieves have strong preferences. They prefer stealing imports rather than domestic models, according to the newly released car theft study of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

The NICB reviewed auto theft data reported to the West Virginia-based National Crime Information Center and from that information developed this list of the make, model, and model year of the most reported stolen vehicles in 2004.

Top Ten Most Stolen Vehicles, 2004
  1. 1995 Honda Civic
  2. 1989 Toyota Camry
  3. 1991 Honda Accord
  4. 1994 Dodge Caravan
  5. 1994 Chevrolet Full Size C/K 1500 Pickup
  6. 1997 Ford F150 Series
  7. 2003 Dodge Ram Pickup
  8. 1990 Acura Integra
  9. 1988 Toyota Pickup
  10. 1991 Nissan Sentra

In 2004, 1,237,114 motor vehicles were reported stolen, representing a drop of 23,357 vehicles from 2003. Overall in the United States, motor vehicle theft fell by 1.9 percent from the previous year.

According to NICB Chief Executive Officer, Robert M. Bryant, while this slight decrease in theft is a positive sign, there is still work to be done. "Now, all of us in the fight against vehicle theft and insurance fraud must ensure that we continue the momentum and bring this national crime problem under control," said Bryant, president and chief executive officer of the NICB, an Illinois-headquartered organization that focuses on combating insurance fraud and vehicle theft.

NICB's latest report follows one it did earlier in 2005 on identifying the U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest auto-theft rates for 2004. California holds the dubious distinction of having seven of the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest auto-theft rates.

The NICB points out that the metropolitan area of Modesto, California, heads the list for the second straight year. The report is based on an analysis of statistics collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 336 metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Metropolitan Areas with Highest Vehicle Theft Rates, 2004
(2003 placement in parenthesis)
  1. Modesto, CA (1)
  2. Stockton-Lodi, CA (3)
  3. Las Vegas, NV (4)
  4. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ (2)
  5. Sacramento, CA (5)
  6. Oakland, CA (7)
  7. Visalia-Tulare-Porterville, CA (15)
  8. San Diego, CA (9)
  9. Fresno, CA (6)
  10. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA (11)

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) reports a disturbing trend, indicating that insurance claims for stolen cars are experiencing the biggest increase in port areas. The hardest hit locales include New York, Miami and in Southern California (San Diego and Los Angeles), confirms Kim Hazelbaker, senior vice president for HLDI in Arlington, Va.

Adds Hazelbaker: "The new Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator and other high-dollar SUVs are becoming a very popular theft target for organized car theft rings, because this has become an extremely lucrative business for them. They have the stolen cars loaded into containers for shipping on land and sea to Third World countries. In the post 9/11 era, cargo inspectors at the major ports tend to focus most of their energy on goods coming into the country, and maybe a bit less on what's going out."

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