Wheel Chasers

The Ever-Higher Stakes: Car Theft Rates Surge Amidst Pandemic

The Top 10 Most Stolen Cars in 2020

In 2020, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released its annual report on the most stolen cars in the US. The report reflects data from law enforcement agencies across the country.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the top 10 most stolen cars in 2020. 1.

Honda Civic

2. Honda Accord


Ford Pickup (Full Size)

4. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)


Toyota Camry

6. Nissan Altima


Toyota Corolla

8. Dodge Pickup (Full Size)


GMC Pickup (Full Size)

10. Honda CR-V

As you can see, four of the top 10 most stolen cars are Honda models.

Honda Civics and Accords top the list, with a combined total of 67,632 thefts. This is not surprising since these cars are popular due to their affordability, reliability, and fuel efficiency.

Thieves can easily sell the stolen parts and make a profit. Full-size pickup trucks, such as Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, and GMC, are also a favorite target for thieves.

These vehicles are expensive, and their parts are in high demand. Pickup trucks also tend to have less innate security features than other newer models.

The Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Toyota Corolla, and Honda CR-V, complete the top 10 most stolen cars in 2020. Like the Honda models, these cars are popular because they are affordable and reliable.

Reasons Why Certain Cars Are More Frequently Stolen

There are several reasons why certain cars are more frequently stolen. Let’s discuss some of these reasons in more detail:

Age of the Vehicle

Older cars tend to be more prone to theft because they have less innate security features such as alarms and immobilizers. Thieves also have an easier time bypassing outdated technology or even breaking into older cars.

Value of the Vehicle and Its Parts

The higher the value of a car, the higher the chance it will be stolen. Luxury cars, for instance, are often targeted due to their high resale value.

Certain car parts such as catalytic converters, wheels, and airbags can be lucrative on the black market.

Brand Popularity

Certain car brands are more frequently stolen than others because of their popularity. Honda and Toyota, for instance, are two of the most popular brands with great resale values.

Geographical Location

The rate of car theft varies significantly by location. Some areas experience more car theft than others due to a variety of factors, including population density, socio-economic status, and the number of police patrols.

Ease of Steal

The easier it is to steal a vehicle, the more likely it will be stolen. Thieves target cars with low-security features such as weak alarms, poor locks, and easy-to-open windows.


In conclusion, car theft continues to be a significant problem in the US. Understanding the reasons why certain cars are more frequently stolen can help us take preventative measures to ensure the safety of our vehicles.

Although there are no foolproof ways to prevent car theft, being vigilant and acquiring extra security features such as alarms and immobilizers can go a long way in preventing theft. Car theft is a serious issue that can have devastating financial consequences for vehicle owners.

Not only does it result in the loss of a valuable asset, it can also lead to increased insurance rates, costly deductibles, and other unforeseeable expenses. In this article, we will take a closer look at two aspects of car theft: the most common locations for car thefts to occur and how car theft affects insurance rates.

The Most Common Locations for Car Thefts to Occur

Car theft can occur anywhere, but there are certain locations where it is more likely to happen. Understanding these locations can help you take preventative measures to minimize the risk of car theft.

Here are some of the most common locations for car thefts:

1. Parking Lots

Parking lots are one of the most common locations for car theft.

Thieves target vehicles parked in public areas, such as malls, grocery stores, or restaurants. They may be attracted to a particular car, or they may simply be looking for an opportunity to steal.

2. Residential Areas

Residential areas, such as driveways and garages, are also common locations for car thefts.

Thieves may target vehicles parked in a driveway, especially if the car is visible from the street. They may also break into garages to steal cars or parts.

3. Public Streets

Public streets are another common location for car thefts.

Thieves may target parked vehicles on the street, especially if the car is left unlocked or has visible valuables inside. 4.

Vehicle Lots

Vehicle lots, such as rental lots or dealership lots, are also popular targets for car thieves. Thieves may pose as customers or use fake identification to gain access to the lot and steal a vehicle.

5. Gas Stations

Gas stations are also common targets for car thieves.

Thieves may wait until drivers leave their cars unattended while paying for gas or going inside the station.

How Car Theft Affects Insurance Rates

Car theft can also have a significant impact on insurance rates. Vehicle owners who have experienced theft may see an increase in their insurance premiums.

Here are some of the ways car theft affects insurance rates:

1. Comprehensive Coverage

Most insurance policies offer comprehensive coverage, which covers theft and damage to a vehicle.

If a car is stolen, the policyholder can file a claim for the value of the vehicle. However, filing a claim can result in higher insurance premiums.

2. Deductibles

Insurance policies often require a deductible, which is an out-of-pocket expense that the policyholder must pay before the insurance company covers the cost of the claim.

If a car is stolen, the policyholder may be required to pay a high deductible, which can be an unexpected financial burden. 3.

Increased Risk

Car theft can also increase the risk associated with insuring a vehicle. Insurance companies may consider a vehicle more high-risk if it has been stolen in the past, which can result in higher premiums.

4. Frequency of Car Thefts

Insurance companies also factor in the frequency of car thefts in a particular area.

If an area has a high frequency of car thefts, it may be considered high-risk by insurance companies, and premiums may be raised accordingly. 5.

Lowered Vehicle Value

If a car is stolen and the insurance company covers the claim, the value of the vehicle may be lowered. Insurance companies often use a “total loss” formula to determine the value of a stolen car.

This formula takes into account the age and condition of the car, as well as the market value. The insurance payout may be less than what the owner was expecting, making it difficult to replace the stolen vehicle.

In conclusion, car theft is a serious problem that can have a significant impact on vehicle owners. Understanding the most common locations for car thefts and how it affects insurance rates can help vehicle owners take preventative measures to minimize the risk of theft and make informed decisions when purchasing insurance policies.

It is important to follow recommended safety practices, including locking car doors and parking in well-lit areas, to prevent theft and protect our valuable assets. Car theft can have a significant impact on car owners, from financial loss to emotional stress.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the impact of car theft on car owners, as well as the average cost of stolen vehicles in 2020.

The Impact of Car Theft on Car Owners

Car theft is a traumatic experience that can have a lasting impact on car owners. Not only is there the financial loss of the stolen vehicle, but there is also the inconvenience of not having a car.

Here are some of the ways car theft can impact car owners:

1. Financial Loss

The most obvious impact of car theft is the financial loss.

Even with insurance coverage, car owners may be required to pay deductibles or may receive an insurance payout that is less than the value of the vehicle. 2.

Personal Items

Car theft can also result in the loss of personal items. Thieves often take anything of value that is left in the car, such as electronics or personal documents.

These items can be difficult or impossible to replace. 3.

Emotional Impact

Car theft can also have an emotional impact on car owners. It can result in feelings of violation, fear, and vulnerability.

Some car theft victims may experience depression, anxiety, or PTSD as a result of the experience. 4.


Car theft can also be incredibly inconvenient. Car owners may have to find alternative transportation, which can be costly and time-consuming.

They may also have to deal with paperwork and insurance claims, which can be a hassle. 5.

Time and Effort

Car theft can also require a significant amount of time and effort to resolve. Car owners may have to file police reports, work with insurance companies, and arrange for replacement transportation.

This can be especially difficult for those who rely on their cars for work or other important activities.

The Average Cost of Stolen Vehicles in 2020

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that the average cost of a stolen vehicle in 2020 was $8,886. This represents an increase over the previous year, when the average cost of a stolen vehicle was $8,407.

The NICB reports that top stolen vehicles continue to be popular targets for thieves. For example, the average value of a stolen 2019 Honda Civic was $19,873, while the average value of a stolen 2020 Toyota Camry was $19,486.

These vehicles are often targeted because they have high resale values and parts that are in demand. The cost of a stolen car can vary depending on several factors, including the make and model of the car, its age and condition, and the area in which it was stolen.

Luxury vehicles and high-end sports cars can cost significantly more to replace than more affordable vehicles. In addition to the cost of the stolen car, car owners may also incur other expenses related to the theft.

For example, they may have to pay for replacement transportation, rental cars, and other expenses related to the inconvenience of not having a car. In conclusion, car theft can have a significant impact on car owners, from financial loss to emotional stress.

Understanding the average cost of stolen vehicles can help car owners understand the potential financial impact of car theft. While car theft is unfortunately a common occurrence, there are steps that car owners can take to minimize the risk, such as using theft prevention devices and parking in well-lit areas.

By taking preventative measures and staying informed, car owners can protect their valuable assets and minimize the impact of car theft. Car theft is a problem that affects both urban and suburban areas, but the rates of theft can differ significantly.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the differences in car theft rates between urban and suburban areas, as well as how technology is changing the way we protect our cars from theft.

The Differences in Car Theft Rates Between Urban and Suburban Areas

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the urban areas experience higher rates of car theft compared to suburban areas. The NICB reports that the top 10 cities with the highest car theft rates are all located in urban areas.

Urban areas tend to have higher rates of car theft for several reasons. The first is population density.

Urban areas have higher concentrations of people, which means there are more cars on the road and more opportunities for theft. High population density also means there are more areas with poor lighting, making it easier for thieves to operate undetected.

Another reason for the higher rates of car theft in urban areas is socioeconomic factors. Urban areas tend to have higher crime rates and higher poverty rates, which can increase the likelihood of car theft.

Criminals may view cars as an easy target and may be more likely to target vehicles parked on urban streets. In contrast, suburban areas tend to have lower rates of car theft.

Suburban areas have lower population densities, which means there are fewer cars on the road and less opportunity for theft. Suburban areas also tend to have more secure parking, such as garages and driveways.

Additionally, suburban areas often have lower crime rates and a stronger sense of community, which can deter car thieves.

How Technology Is Changing the Way We Protect Our Cars from Theft

Advancements in technology are changing the way we protect our cars from theft. Here are some of the ways technology is helping to reduce car theft:


Keyless Entry

Keyless entry systems have become increasingly popular in recent years. With keyless entry, car owners can lock or unlock their cars remotely, without using a physical key.

Keyless entry systems can also be programmed to sound an alarm if someone attempts to enter the car without the appropriate key fob. 2.

GPS Tracking

GPS tracking devices have become a popular way to protect cars from theft. These devices can be installed in a car and allow the owner to track the vehicle’s location remotely.

In the event of theft, the owner can use GPS tracking to locate the car and recover it quickly. 3.

Immobilization Systems

Immobilization systems are designed to prevent a car from being started without the appropriate key. Immobilization systems can be fitted to a car’s ignition or fuel system, making it impossible to start the car without the appropriate key.

4. Remote Shutdown

Some cars are now equipped with remote shutdown capabilities.

In the event of theft, the owner can remotely shut down the engine of the stolen vehicle, making it impossible for the thief to continue driving the car. 5.

In-Car Cameras

In-car cameras can be used to deter thieves and provide evidence in the event of theft. These cameras can be mounted inside the car and can be set to record when the car is parked or in motion.

In conclusion, car theft is a serious problem that affects both urban and suburban areas. While urban areas tend to experience higher rates of car theft, suburban areas are not immune.

However, advancements in technology are providing new ways to protect our cars from theft. From keyless entry systems to GPS tracking devices, car owners have more tools than ever to protect their valuable assets.

By staying informed and taking preventative measures, car owners can minimize the risk of car theft and enjoy greater peace of mind.

Ways to Prevent Your Car from Being Stolen

Car theft is a serious problem that can have devastating financial and emotional consequences. Luckily, there are several steps car owners can take to prevent their vehicles from being stolen.

In this section, we will explore some of the most effective ways to protect your car:

1. Lock your car

This may seem obvious, but many car thefts occur because owners forget to lock their vehicles.

Always make sure your car is locked, even if you will be away for just a few minutes. Locking your car creates an additional barrier for potential thieves.

2. Park in well-lit and populated areas

Whenever possible, park your car in well-lit areas with high foot traffic.

Thieves are less likely to target cars in busy locations with plenty of witnesses. Illuminated parking areas can also deter criminals, as they prefer to operate in the dark.

Look for parking spots near security cameras or in public garages where there is added surveillance. 3.

Install an immobilizer system

Consider installing an immobilizer system in your car. These systems prevent the engine from starting without the use of a properly programmed key.

Immobilizers provide an extra layer of security, as thieves will have a difficult time starting your car even if they gain access to it. 4.

Use a steering wheel lock

Steering wheel locks, like the classic “club” design, can be effective deterrents. These devices attach to your steering wheel and make it nearly impossible to steer the car without removing the lock.

Thieves are deterred by the extra time and effort required to defeat a steering wheel lock. 5.

Install a tracking device

Installing a GPS tracking device in your car can be a valuable investment. If your car is stolen, you can track its location in real-time and provide the information to law enforcement.

Tracking devices significantly increase the chances of recovering a stolen vehicle. 6.

Secure your keys

Do not leave spare keys inside your car or in easily accessible areas, such as under the floor mat or in the glove compartment. Experienced thieves know all the common hiding places.

Instead, keep your spare keys in a secure location at home or with a trusted individual. 7.

Be mindful of your surroundings

Always stay alert to your surroundings when approaching or leaving your vehicle. Look for suspicious individuals or activity nearby.

If you feel unsafe or observe something suspicious, trust your instincts and find an alternative parking spot or use a ride-sharing service.

The Consequences of Car Theft for Car Thieves

While car theft is detrimental to car owners, it is essential to recognize the consequences for the car thieves as well. Here are some of the potential consequences a car thief may face:


Legal consequences

Car theft is a serious crime that can result in significant legal consequences for the thief. If caught, they may face criminal charges, fines, probation, and even incarceration.

Repeat offenders or those involved in organized car theft rings may face more severe penalties. 2.

Damage to the stolen vehicle

Car thieves often abandon or damage stolen vehicles during or after criminal activity. They may strip the car of valuable parts, vandalize it, or use it for other unlawful activities.

As a result, the stolen vehicle may incur significant damage that reduces its resale value if recovered. 3.

Impact on criminal record

A car theft conviction can have a long-lasting impact on a thief’s criminal record. Many employers conduct background checks before hiring, and a car theft conviction may make it difficult for the thief to find employment or pursue certain career paths.

4. Relationship strain

Car thieves often struggle with interpersonal relationships.

Family and friends may be disappointed or ashamed of their criminal activities, causing strained relationships or even the loss of important connections and support systems. 5.

Limited employment opportunities

Car thieves may face limited employment opportunities due to their criminal record and lack of relevant skills or education. Finding stable employment becomes challenging, which can lead to financial struggles and potentially reinforce a cycle of criminal behavior.

6. Increased risk of violence

Car theft is associated with a higher risk of violence, both for the thief and potential victims.

Confrontations with car owners, law enforcement, or rival criminals can escalate to physical altercations or even more severe acts of violence. In conclusion, preventing your car from being stolen requires a combination of preventative measures and situational awareness.

By taking steps such as locking your car, parking in well-lit areas, and using security devices, you can significantly reduce the risk of car theft. Additionally, understanding the consequences that car thieves may face can serve as a reminder of the gravity of their actions and the broader impact of car theft on society as a whole.

The Connection between Drug Addiction and Car Theft

Car theft is a multifaceted issue influenced by various factors. One factor that has been recognized as a significant driver of car theft is drug addiction.

Substance abuse, particularly drug addiction, can contribute to the increase in car theft rates. Here’s an in-depth look at the connection between drug addiction and car theft:


Need for Money

One of the primary reasons drug addicts engage in car theft is to obtain money to fuel their addiction. Financing a drug habit can be expensive, and addicts often resort to stealing cars as a quick way to acquire cash.

Stolen cars can be sold to chop shops, salvage yards, or unsuspecting individuals, providing the needed funds to purchase drugs. 2.

Impaired Judgment and Desperation

Drug addiction affects an individual’s judgment and decision-making abilities. Addicts may experience desperation to obtain their drugs, leading them to engage in impulsive and illegal activities such as car theft.

The obsession with acquiring drugs can override their moral compass and rational thinking, pushing them to steal cars as a means to an end. 3.

Quick Profitability

Car theft can offer an immediate financial gain for drug addicts. They can quickly sell stolen cars and car parts to secure money for drugs without engaging in extensive, time-consuming criminal activities.

The profit motive combined with the urgency for drugs creates a potent incentive for addicts to participate in car theft. 4.

Resale Value of Cars and Car Parts

Stolen cars and their parts can fetch a significant price on the black market. Car thieves, often associated with drug addiction, target specific car models known for their high resale value or demand for parts.

Luxury vehicles and popular models like Honda Civics or Toyota Camrys are often sought after due to their valuable components. These vehicles and their components are then sold to individuals or illicit markets to generate profits.

5. Criminal Networks and Peer Pressure

Drug addicts engaged in car theft are often part of criminal networks or influenced by peers involved in illegal activities.

These networks and groups provide support, resources, and connections to facilitate car theft. Peer pressure within such groups can be significant, pushing individuals to engage in criminal behaviors such as car theft to maintain acceptance and continue securing drugs.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Car Theft Rates

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in numerous social and economic challenges worldwide. While the pandemic has affected various aspects of society, it has also had an impact on car theft rates.

Here’s a closer look at the effects of COVID-19 on car theft:

1. Changes in Car Usage

During the pandemic, many individuals began working from home and limiting their travel, resulting in reduced car usage.

With cars parked for extended periods, thieves had fewer opportunities for car theft. However, it’s important to note that as restrictions eased, car theft rates rebounded.

2. Economic Instability

The economic fallout from the pandemic has left many individuals facing financial hardship.

Economic instability often leads to increased crime rates, including car theft. Desperate individuals may resort to stealing cars as a means to overcome financial difficulties or to generate quick cash.

3. Disruptions in Law Enforcement

The pandemic has forced law enforcement agencies to reallocate resources and adjust their operations to prioritize public health and safety.

Reduced police presence, limited staff, and altered patrol strategies may have inadvertently created opportunities for car thieves to operate with less risk of detection or apprehension. 4.

Rise in Unemployment

The pandemic caused a surge in unemployment rates, leading to financial strain for many individuals. The loss of income and financial insecurity can drive some individuals to resort to criminal activities, including car theft.

Lack of job opportunities and increased desperation may push individuals to engage in illegal activities to support themselves and their families. 5.

Vehicle Demand and Supply Chain Disruptions

The pandemic disrupted the global supply chain, causing delays in new car production and distribution. Limited availability of new vehicles increased demand for used cars, making them more valuable.

Stolen vehicles can be sold as legitimate used cars or stripped for valuable parts, contributing to the spike in car theft rates during the pandemic. In conclusion, drug addiction and the COVID-19 pandemic have both had notable impacts on car theft rates.

Drug addiction can drive individuals to engage in car theft for financial gain to support their drug habits. On the other hand, the pandemic had mixed effects on car theft rates due to changes in car usage, economic instability, disruptions in law enforcement, rising unemployment, and shifts in the vehicle market.

Understanding these connections and considerations can help authorities, communities, and individuals develop strategies to mitigate the occurrence of car theft and address the underlying factors that contribute to it.

The Role of Law Enforcement in Reducing Car Theft

Law enforcement plays a crucial role in reducing car theft by implementing proactive measures, investigation, and collaboration with the community. Here’s a closer look at the role of law enforcement in preventing and combating car theft:


Education and Awareness

Law enforcement agencies organize community outreach programs to educate the public about car theft prevention. They provide information on effective security measures, such as locking car doors, using anti-theft devices, and parking in well-lit areas.

By raising awareness about car theft and preventative measures, law enforcement helps individuals protect their vehicles and discourages potential thieves. 2.

Patrols and Surveillance

Law enforcement agencies conduct regular patrols in high-risk areas prone to car theft, such as parking lots, neighborhoods, and known hotspots. Increased visibility of police presence acts as a deterrent to potential thieves.

Patrol officers can monitor suspicious activity, respond quickly to thefts in progress, and apprehend culprits. Additionally, law enforcement agencies employ surveillance systems, such as security cameras, to detect and investigate car theft incidents.

3. Specialized Units and Task Forces

Many law enforcement agencies have specialized units or task forces dedicated to investigating car theft.

These units focus on tracking down stolen vehicles, dismantling criminal networks involved in car theft, and recovering stolen cars. They employ advanced investigative techniques, collaborate with other agencies, and use databases to aid in stolen vehicle recoveries.

4. Vehicle Identification

Law enforcement officers work closely with car owners and the automotive industry to enhance vehicle identification.

This includes the use of Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) and other unique identification marks on vehicles. By ensuring that vehicles have proper identification, law enforcement can identify stolen cars more easily and return them to their rightful owners.

5. Collaboration with Insurance Companies

Law enforcement agencies collaborate with insurance companies to share information, track and recover stolen vehicles, and investigate fraudulent activities related to car theft.

This partnership helps in identifying patterns and providing intelligence to prevent future thefts. Additionally, law enforcement agencies work with insurance companies to facilitate the return of stolen vehicles and ensure proper processing of insurance claims.

6. International Cooperation

Car theft is not limited to national boundaries.

Law enforcement agencies collaborate at an international level to combat car theft, especially for stolen vehicles that are transported across borders. Sharing information, coordinating investigations, and extraditing suspects are key elements of international cooperation in combating car theft.

Historical Trends in Car Theft over the Past Decade

Understanding the historical trends in car theft over the past decade provides valuable insights into the changing landscape of this criminal activity. Here are some key trends observed:


Decreasing Overall Rates

Over the past decade, car theft rates have generally decreased in many countries, including the United States. Improved security features in vehicles, advancements in anti-theft technology, public education, and effective law enforcement efforts have contributed to this decline.

2. Shift in Stolen Vehicle Preferences

There has been a shift in the types of vehicles targeted by thieves.

Historically, older model cars were often stolen due to their lower security features and ease of theft. However, modern vehicles equipped with advanced anti-theft technology have become more challenging to steal.

Consequently, car thieves have shifted their focus to high-value luxury vehicles and popular models with high resale values. 3.

Rise in Technological Challenges and Techniques

Advancements in technology have resulted in both challenges and opportunities for car thieves. On one hand, improved anti-theft systems have made it more difficult to steal vehicles.

On the other hand, criminals have developed sophisticated techniques to bypass these systems, such as using electronic hacking devices or key programming tools. 4.

Targeted Car Parts Theft

While the theft of entire vehicles has decreased overall, there has been an increase in targeted thefts of car parts. Valuable components like catalytic converters, airbags, rims, and GPS systems are often stolen and sold on the black market.

This trend might be attributed to the increased difficulty of stealing entire vehicles due to enhanced security measures. 5.

Regional Variances in Car Theft Rates

Car theft rates can vary significantly between regions. Factors such as population density, socio-economic conditions, and law enforcement strategies influence these variations.

Urban areas with higher population densities tend to have higher car theft rates compared to suburban or rural areas. 6.

Rise of Cybercrime and Electronic Theft

As vehicles become more technologically advanced, the risk of cybercrime and electronic theft has increased. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in vehicle systems to gain unauthorized access and steal vehicles remotely.

Law enforcement agencies have been adapting to combat this emerging trend by bolstering their cybercrime units and collaborating with cybersecurity experts. I

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