U.S. Car Theft Statistics
Auto theft has become a constant threat in the United States. People all over the country have been left stranded, only to learn that their cars had been stolen. But, what are the true data behind car theft and car break-ins? By knowing how often and where these crimes are happening, you’re better able to protect yourself. So, let’s dive into some car theft statistics.
How Many Car Theft Incidents Are Happening in the Country?
According to car theft statistics from Statista, there were 283 cases for every 100,000 people in 2022. The stolen cars statistics from the annual Hot Spots Report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) explain that this equates to over 1 million thefts. On average, that’s a motor vehicle theft every 31 seconds.
The frequency of this crime has increased over the last few years. During pandemic-related stay-at-home orders, many car owners left their vehicles unattended and parked for long periods of time. The economic downturn has played a role, too—when times get hard, crime goes up.
Now, as people are back to their old daily habits of working in offices, shopping at stores, and so on, cars sit in garages and lots for hours at a time. Supply chain issues and shortages mean that cars and parts are in high demand and fetch high prices. Motor vehicle theft rates haven’t been this high since the 2008 recession.
What Are the Highest Motor Vehicle Theft Statistics by State?
The car theft statistics from the NICB reveal that in 2022, the state with the most reported auto thefts was Colorado. The theft rate for Colorado increased from 661 per 100,000 residents in 2021 to 731 per 100,000 residents in 2022. Washington, D.C. came in second, increasing from 651 to 700 reports per 100,000 residents over the same time period.
The top ten states by vehicle theft rate for 2022 were:
- Colorado (731.3 per 100,000 residents)
- Washington, D.C. (700.1)
- Washington (603.5)
- Oregon (540.9)
- New Mexico (540.6)
- California (520.2)
- Missouri (482.6)
- Nevada (480.8)
- Texas (350.1)
- Tenessee (338.0)
Texas is the only state from this top 10 list that saw its rate decrease over the last year. Except Tennessee, all of these states topped the list in 2021, too.
Which Cities Experience the Most Car Theft?
The 2022 NICB Hot Spots report also reveals the top 10 metropolitan areas by vehicle theft rate.
- Pueblo, CO (1,086.4 per 100,000 residents)
- Bakersfield, CA (1,072.4)
- Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO (1,062.7)
- Memphis, TN-MS-AR (845.7)
- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA (796.9)
- Albuquerque, NM (795.2)
- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA (758.7)
- San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA (699.3)
- Greeley, CO (589.4)
- Kansas City, MO-KS (572.7)
Unsurprisingly, many of these cities are in the states with high car theft statistics.
Why Are Stolen Car Statistics Rising?
The NICB suggests that automobile theft statistics continue to rise because used car values are higher than normal rates. The used car value rates have increased by 35%, largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It not only affected us at home but also had a tremendous impact on companies all over the world, including car production companies.
According to Statista, the car companies halted their production of semiconductors. These control a car’s air conditioning systems, tire pressure, airbags, and more. Because of the global shortage of semiconductors and the chips used to program semiconductors, automotive suppliers could not meet the new car demand. As a result, many dealerships across the country were left with their lowest reported inventory levels. Because of the low inventory, the used car value rates increased. And this has only increased the automobile theft statistics.
What Are the Most Common Types of Cars Stolen?
Stolen car statistics from the NICB say that larger trucks, such as Chevrolet and Ford full-size pickups, are the most commonly stolen cars. These trucks are always in high demand. Not only are they desirable, but they are also high in price, making them the perfect target for thieves who are looking to resell stolen vehicles or parts.
After the two pickups, the most sought-after cars by thieves are the Honda Civic and the Honda Accord. Both sedans are among the most popular cars in the country, meaning that there are plenty on the streets for thieves to target.
In the past few years, Kia and Hyundai vehicles have become common theft targets. All but the newest cars from these automakers lack immobilizers, a security feature that most recently manufactured cars have. The “Kia Boyz” social media trend popularized stealing vulnerable Kia and Hyundai cars for dangerous joyriding.
What About Car Theft Dealership Statistics?
Businesses certainly aren’t immune to crime. Dealerships across the country struggle with theft and vandalism, among other crimes. According to FBI data, there were nearly 12,000 cases of motor vehicle theft at dealerships in 2022 alone.
You don’t have to look far to find news items about theft from auto dealers, body shops, parking lots, and garages. In November 2022, thieves struck a dealership in Silver Spring, Maryland, stealing four luxury vehicles. A Michigan car dealership was invaded by 30 thieves. A total of 13 vehicles were stolen, and one man died from a gunshot wound in this horrible incident. And in New York, a dealership had 26 cars stolen in one night.
Cars are at constant risk of theft, even inside dealerships. There are always security measures that business owners can take to reduce risks. For car dealerships, try these measures to protect your business from car thieves:
- Ensure you have adequate lighting
- Install security cameras and contract an automotive dealership video monitoring service
- Create clear, strong boundaries that make it difficult for thieves to get through
- Secure vehicle keys
- Ensure all car alarms are activated every night
Every stolen vehicle and part is a hit to your bottom line. Invest in security now to prevent trouble later.
How Can You Protect Yourself and Your Car?
Certainly, there are precautions you can take to ensure your vehicle’s safety.
- Register your car. You must always have your car registered through your state’s DMV. If your vehicle is stolen, this helps law enforcement to track it down via the VIN. Your dealership might also offer additional VIN etching or stickers for commonly stolen parts.
- Lock your car doors and keep windows up. It seems like common sense, but in your day-to-day activities, you might forget to lock everything up. When your doors or windows are open, thieves have easy access to your car. Even if they don’t steal your car, they have easy access to any valuables inside.
- Activate security features. Most vehicles have an alarm that goes off if someone turns on your car or opens the door. Make sure you have it activated.
- Park in well-lit areas. When you need to find parking at night, take some time to park in an area with lots of light. When you park in the dark, you make your car an easy target.
- Keep your keys on you. Leaving your car keys inside your car makes it easier for thieves to steal your car. Hiding them in your wheelwell isn’t a great idea either. Take them with you no matter how long you intend to be away.
- Use security cameras from Deep Sentinel. Having a live security guard watching your car 24/7 through a surveillance camera system is the best way to stay protected. By letting your guard do the work, you can rest easy knowing that Deep Sentinel will contact the police if trouble arises.
There are plenty of other options, from gadgets like wheel locks to high-tech immobilizers. But start with common sense and basic security measures, and you’ll significantly reduce your chances of theft.
Set Up a Security System Through Deep Sentinel
Sometimes, even when you take precautions, you don’t feel like you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself from car theft. That’s where Deep Sentinel comes in.
No other system offers live security guards behind every camera and AI that detects potential threats. The guards watch the live feed, intervene on your behalf, and instantly report crimes to the police within 30 seconds. This fast response time is crucial during those times when your car might be at risk for theft. Additionally, you’re always in the loop via mobile alerts.
Deep Sentinel’s expert security team is more than happy to answer your questions and configure a system to keep your car and other valuables secure. Don’t go unprotected. Call Deep Sentinel to enhance your vehicle safety today.
Updated December 2023