Honda Accord Tops the List for Most Stolen Vehicle in the U.S.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its annual Hot Wheels report which identifies the 10 most stolen vehicles in the United States. The report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2014.

Included with today’s release is a list of the top 25 2014 vehicle makes and models that were reported stolen in calendar year 2014.

For 2014, the most stolen vehicles* in the nation were (total thefts in parentheses):

1. Honda Accord (51,290)
2. Honda Civic (43,936)
3. Ford Pickup (Full Size) (28,680)
4. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) (23,196)
5. Toyota Camry (14,605)
6. Dodge Pickup (Full Size) (11,075)
7. Dodge Caravan (10,483)
8. Nissan Altima (9,109)
9. Acura Integra (6,902)
10. Nissan Maxima (6,586)

See the complete report here. Or paste this link into your browser: www.nicb.org/File Library/Public Affairs/2014_State_Top10for-release.xls.

The following are the top 10 2014 model year vehicles stolen during calendar year 2014 (total thefts in parentheses):

1. Ford Pickup (Full Size) (964)
2. Toyota Camry (869)
3. Ford Fusion (819)
4. Chevrolet Impala (746)
5. Nissan Altima (687)
6. Dodge Charger (680)
7. Taotao Industry Co. Scooter/Moped (592)
8. Toyota Corolla (578)
9. Chevrolet Cruze (566)
10. Ford Focus (505)

Download 2014’s complete top 25 most stolen list from this spreadsheet. Or paste this link into your browser: www.nicb.org/File Library/Public Affairs/Top25Modesl_NewModel-VehYear2014.xls. Although vehicle theft has been on a long downward trajectory, it is still a severe economic hardship for many to lose their vehicle to theft—especially if a vehicle is uninsured. That is why NICB continues to advise all drivers to review our four “Layers of Protection”:

  • 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 that 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.

Considering a used vehicle purchase? Check out VINCheck, a free vehicle history service for consumers. Since 2005, NICB has offered this limited service made possible by its participating member companies. Check it out at: www.nicb.org/vincheck.

*This report reflects stolen vehicle data contained in NCIC and present in the “NCIC mirror image” when accessed by NICB on March 2, 2015. NCIC records may contain errors based on inaccurate entries submitted by reporting agencies. Full size pickups include half ton and larger capacity models for all makes.

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Hurricane Katrina 10 Years Later: Birth of VINCheck – Part 5

In today’s final installment, see how NICB’s “Katrina Flood Vehicle Database” grew from an internal inventory and claims processing tool into VINCheck—the nation’s first free vehicle history and consumer protection service based on insurance claims.

Ten years after Katrina, VINCheck remains the most visited page on the NICB.org website.

Hurricane Katrina 10 Years Later: Coast to Coast Impact – Part 4

Today’s video segment shows how in the weeks and months after Katrina, NICB agents were finding vehicles damaged by floodwaters for sale from New York to California. These potential coffins on wheels were just waiting to be purchased by unsuspecting consumers.

To view the other parts of this series click here.

Hurricane Katrina 10 Years Later: Vehicle Identification – Part 3

Recognizing the unprecedented number of vehicles that were flooded or otherwise damaged from Katrina, NICB dispatched teams to the region and established the Gulf Coast Task Force (GCTF) which operated from two locations: Baton Rouge, La. and Mobile, Ala. Over the next several months, NICB personnel from all over the United States were rotated through the GCTF where they worked side-by-side with state and local law enforcement officers in identifying and cataloging the thousands of damaged vehicles that littered every part of New Orleans and Mobile—and most points in between—in Nature’s random display of destruction.

Today’s video covers the challenges and creativity applied to the tremendous task of identifying damaged vehicles.

NICB and Hurricane Katrina: A 10-Year Retrospective Part Two

CarpenterKatrinaQuoteEach day this week the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) will release segments of a five-part documentary video that provides first-hand recollections of NICB employees and law enforcement personnel as they reflect on their roles in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Recognizing the unprecedented number of vehicles that were flooded or otherwise damaged from Katrina, NICB dispatched teams to the region and established the Gulf Coast Task Force (GCTF) which operated from two locations: Baton Rouge, La. and Mobile, Ala. Over the next several months, NICB personnel from all over the United States were rotated through the GCTF where they worked side-by-side with state and local law enforcement officers in identifying and cataloging the thousands of damaged vehicles that littered every part of New Orleans and Mobile—and most points in between—in Nature’s random display of destruction.

Today’s video segment illustrates how NICB’s established operations centers and got down to work.

Video release schedule:

Monday: Part 1: Multistate Devastation

Tuesday, Part 2: NICB’s Initial Response

Wednesday, Part 3: Vehicle Identification

Thursday, Part 4: Coast to Coast Impact

Friday, Part 5: Birth of VINCheck

Hurricane Katrina: A 10-Year Retrospective

Katrina10YearsBeginning today—and every day this week—the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) will release segments of a five-part documentary video that provides first-hand recollections of NICB employees and law enforcement personnel as they reflect on their roles in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Video release schedule:

Monday, Part 1: Multistate Devastation

Tuesday, Part 2: NICB’s Initial Response

Wednesday, Part 3: Vehicle Identification

Thursday, Part 4: Coast to Coast Impact

Friday, Part 5: Birth of VINCheck

Widespread destruction, NICB responds

While Katrina impacted parts of Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, its most widespread destruction occurred in Louisiana in and around New Orleans. After making landfall on August 29, 2005, Katrina’s heavy rainfall and significant storm surge caused breaches in a number of the levees protecting New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain. As a result of those levee failures, roughly 80 percent of New Orleans was underwater by August 31.

In terms of property damage, Hurricane Katrina was the most costly on record with insured losses estimated at over $41 billion*. Part of that figure came from insurance claims on more than 300,000 vehicles damaged or destroyed by Katrina—vehicles that presented an attractive opportunity for fraud.

KatrinaFloodedVehiclesRecognizing the unprecedented number of vehicles that were flooded or otherwise damaged from Katrina, NICB dispatched teams to the region and established the Gulf Coast Task Force (GCTF) which operated from two locations: Baton Rouge, La. and Mobile, Ala. Over the next several months, NICB personnel from all over the United States were rotated through the GCTF where they worked side-by-side with state and local law enforcement officers in identifying and cataloging the thousands of damaged vehicles that littered every part of New Orleans and Mobile—and most points in between—in Nature’s random display of destruction.

As the vehicle inventory process took shape, GCTF personnel had some time to pursue allegations of insurance fraud which NICB was receiving on its hotline almost from the moment Katrina made landfall. Even as search and recovery efforts were underway, some saw opportunity to exploit tragedy for personal and illicit gain. NICB investigated everything from bogus claims for flooded vehicles that were nowhere near the storm area to yachts being scuttled by their owners, but blamed on Katrina so they could collect an insurance payoff.

The birth of VINCheck

VINCheckTo prevent unsafe flood vehicles from entering the commerce stream disguised as legitimate used vehicles, NICB created the “Katrina Flood Vehicle Database.” This database was populated with the vehicle identification numbers (VINs) of every Katrina-damaged vehicle that was insured by one of NICB’s 1,100 member insurance companies. Although initially developed to more efficiently share data with law enforcement, state fraud bureaus, motor vehicle departments and insurance companies, NICB realized that allowing consumers to have free access to this data was the best way to help them protect themselves from making an expense—and potentially life-threatening—flood vehicle purchase.

Within two months of Katrina’s landfall, The Katrina Flood Vehicle Database was opened to the public. As this free consumer protection grew in popularity and usage, its name evolved into VINCheck. With the new name and with the cooperation of participating insurance companies, VINCheck not only identified flood vehicles, but any vehicle that had been declared a total loss, salvage, or was an unrecovered stolen vehicle.

Since its creation, VINCheck has been the most visited page on the NICB.org website. From January 1, 2009, through December 31, 2014, more than 5 million VINs have been searched through VINCheck. From those queries, 48,442 theft records and 507,110 salvage records were identified meaning that VINCheck may have saved thousands of innocent consumers from experiencing significant financial losses—or worse.

The hurricanes of 2005, of which Katrina was the Queen of Destruction, challenged all levels of government as well as state and local law enforcement, the insurance industry and disaster relief agencies. The lessons learned from Katrina helped government and non-government officials deal with another mega storm when 2012’s Sandy devastated the Eastern Seaboard and other inland areas.

While natural disasters are an unfortunate reality of life we can understand them. To some extent, we can prepare for them and mitigate their damage. But when ill-intentioned people use these events to commit fraud against a population already reeling from a disaster, they will eventually attract law enforcement’s attention with NICB agents at their side.

As we did after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Ike, and Sandy, NICB’s nationwide distribution of investigative and analytical resources are poised to deter, detect and defeat acts insurance fraud that would cause further harm to the legitimate victims of catastrophes.

*The Insurance Fact Book, 2015, p. 148, Insurance Information Institute, New York.

NICB and Hurricane Katrina: 10 Years Later

Beginning next Monday—and every day that week—the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) will release segments of a five-part documentary video that provides first-hand recollections of NICB employees and law enforcement personnel as they reflect on their roles in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Video release schedule:

Monday, Part 1: Multistate Devastation

Tuesday, Part 2: NICB’s Initial Response

Wednesday, Part 3: Vehicle Identification

Thursday, Part 4: Coast to Coast Impact

Friday, Part 5: Birth of VINCheck

Besides being located here the videos will also be available via our YouTube account or at our website at www.nicb.org.

Auto Theft Investigators Say “Mystery Devices” Are a Growing Threat

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NICB

A poll of professional auto theft investigators from across the globe shows that they are becoming increasingly convinced that mystery devices aimed at breaking into vehicles are getting into the hands of criminals.

At this week’s 63rd Annual Training Seminar of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI), the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) conducted a live poll to assess the awareness of the mostly law enforcement audience concerning the mystery devices.

Based on the unscientific poll, 74 percent said they believe these so-called mystery devices can be used to unlock a vehicle, while 26 percent said they don’t believe these devices work. In addition, 36 percent said they believe the devices can also be used to start and steal a vehicle, although so far, NICB has not confirmed a single reported vehicle theft in the U.S. from this kind of technique.

Only 8 percent said they had actually witnessed a device breaking into or starting a car.

“It was just over a year ago the NICB was the first to warn about the threat of these mystery devices,” said NICB Chief Operating Officer Jim Schweitzer, who conducted the poll. “Last year this was barely a blip on the radar of law enforcement and theft investigators. Now it’s getting everyone’s attention, including the manufacturers who are the front line of defense against these devices.”

Speakers at the Phoenix seminar said recent publicity about hackers deliberately exposing the weaknesses in anti-theft technology may be a good thing.

“To the extent that this does drive more robust software code that is more difficult for some to crack, overall that’s a good thing,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, the former Chief of the Auto Theft Bureau. “But trying to make an industry out of it? I think those are very questionable motives.”

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.

VIDEO: Buried Vehicle Allegedly Used in Insurance Fraud Scam

Thursday night the Corpus Christi Caller Times reported on a tip the National Insurance Crime Bureau received about a stolen vehicle buried in the ground.

A tip was received by law enforcement in Refugio County about a buried vehicle, which was extracted Thursday, said John Mitchell, special agent with the agency.

Mitchell, who also is an investigator for the Corpus Christi Police Department’s auto theft task force, said the vehicle was reported stolen in November in Arkansas.

“We don’t believe it was ever in Arkansas,” he said.

Here is video of the vehicle being dug out in Refugio County, Texas. A claim was allegedly filed with the owners’ insurance company.

 

Hot Wheels Classics: Thefts of Dodge Chargers

1971 Dodge Charger Superbee

1971 Dodge Charger Superbee

When Chrysler introduced the Dodge Charger for the 1966 model year, it wasn’t an overwhelming hit with consumers. Its second generation, however, produced for model years 1968 through 1970, did strike a sweet spot with buyers looking for a muscular performer wrapped in a fresh and striking exterior.

Who can forget 1968’s big-screen police drama “Bullitt?” Its riveting car chase with Steve McQueen piloting his 1968 Ford Mustang GT (debut HW Classics car) through San Francisco’s asphalt mountains pursuing mob hit men driving a black, 1968 Dodge Charger R/T set the standard.

1968 Dodge Charger

1968 Dodge Charger

Chargers went through five design generations from 1968 through 1987 before production ceased. After a 19-year hiatus, the Charger re-appeared for the 2006 model year. This sixth generation version includes the Dodge Charger Pursuit for law enforcement applications. Which sets up an interesting possibility—a Charger Pursuit pursuing a stolen Charger.

As NICB’s new report shows, the sixth-generation Charger is the clear favorite among car thieves as well.

NICB reviewed Charger theft data from 1981-2014 and identified 44,453 theft records. Although theft data from 1966 is available, confidence in pre-1981 theft records is low due to the inconsistency in reporting protocols and vehicle identification number (VIN) systems in use prior to 1981. When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration mandated standardized VINs beginning with the 1981 model year, that year became the benchmark for reliable data used in all Hot Wheels Classics reports.

The top five years for Charger thefts were 2014 (3,495 thefts), 2011 (2,967), 2010 (2,950), 2009 (2,946) and 2013 (2,931). The five years with the fewest thefts were 2004 (55), 2003 (56), 2002 (71), 2001 (77) and 2000 (101).

The most popular model years for Charger thefts were 2006 (7,309), 2007 (6,059), 2008 (3,526), 2010 (2,737) and 2009 (1,564).

See the complete report here, or copy and paste the link below into your web browser.
/File%20Library/Public%20Affairs/ChargerAnnualTheftsthru2014for-release.xls

As always, readers should note that inconsistency and inaccuracy with vehicle theft reporting may impact the accuracy and reliability of this data.