Is Your City on NICB’s 2016 Hot Spots Report For Vehicle Theft?

DES PLAINES, Ill.—The Albuquerque, N.M. metropolitan statistical area (MSA) had the highest per capita auto theft rate in 2016 according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) latest Hot Spots report.

Hot Spots examines vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for each of the nation’s MSAs. MSAs are designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and often include areas much larger than the cities for which they are named. For example, this year’s number one spot, the Albuquerque, N.M. MSA, includes all thefts within the entire county of Bernalillo, not just the city of Albuquerque.

After rising to number two on the Hot Spots list last year, Albuquerque was chosen as the site of NICB’s annual insurance fraud and vehicle theft summit in the fall. Local and state authorities gathered to discuss the growing vehicle theft problem and address efforts to combat the problem in 2017. NICB recently ran billboard messages in the city aimed at reducing the theft rate.

New to the top 10 this year, the metro areas of Anchorage, Alaska (No. 6) and Billings, Mont. (No. 10). As a population-based survey, an area with a much smaller population and a moderate number of thefts can—and often does—have a higher theft rate than an area with a much more significant vehicle theft problem and a larger population to absorb it. Which is how Billings, with 877 thefts, places 10th while Los Angeles, with 60,670 thefts places 35th.

For 2016, the 10 MSAs with the highest vehicle theft rates were: (thefts in parentheses)

Each year the FBI releases preliminary Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data for the previous year’s January-June time frame. When the preliminary 2016 crime data was released earlier this year, vehicle theft was up 6.6 percent across the nation. That increase is reflected in today’s Hot Spots report and is expected to hold when the final UCR 2016 crime data is published in the fall.

For comparison, below is a table showing the preliminary UCR vehicle theft data, the percent change from the previous year, and the final UCR vehicle theft figure:

Overall, vehicle theft is down, dramatically, across the nation. The historic peak year for vehicle theft was 1991, with 1,661,738 reported thefts. In 2015, the total was 707,758. That is a 57.4 percent reduction since 1991.

While the final result for 2016 is expected to be higher than 2015’s number, the vehicle theft environment across the country is vastly improved from the 1990s.

But it could be much better if vehicle owners just followed simple security advice.

In a report published last October, NICB found that for the years 2013 through 2015, a total of 147,434 vehicles were reported stolen with the keys left in them—57,096 in 2015 alone. With the debut of “smart keys” in 1997 and all of the improved anti-theft technology since, it is worthless if drivers continue to leave their keys in the car or leave their vehicles running, unattended, while they make a quick stop at a convenience store.

Vehicle manufacturers, law enforcement and legislatures have been responsive to the crime of vehicle theft over the years and the results are evident. Vehicle owners must guard against complacency and remember to heed simple tips to safeguard their vehicles.

The full Hot Spots report is available at www.nicb.org. See the Hot Spots video here.

NICB recommends that drivers follow our four “layers of protection” to guard against vehicle theft:

Common Sense — the common sense approach to protection is the easiest and most cost-effective way to thwart would-be thieves. You should always:

· Remove your keys from the ignition
· Lock your doors /close your windows
· Park in a well-lit area

Warning Device — the second layer of protection is a visible or audible device which alerts thieves that your vehicle is protected. Popular devices include:

· Audible alarms
· Steering column collars
· Steering wheel/brake pedal lock
· Brake locks
· Wheel locks
· Theft deterrent decals
· Identification markers in or on vehicle
· VIN etching
· Micro dot marking

Immobilizing Device — the third layer of protection is a device which prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys. Other devices inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated. Some examples are:

· Smart keys
· Fuse cut-offs
· Kill switches
· Starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers
· Wireless ignition authentication

Tracking Device — the final layer of protection is a tracking device which emits a signal to police or 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.

America’s 10 Most Stolen Vehicles

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) 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 2015.

Included with today’s release is a list of the top 25 2015 vehicle makes and models that were reported stolen in calendar year 2015.

For 2015, the most stolen vehicles* in the nation were (total thefts in parentheses):

1. 1996 Honda Accord                    (52,244)
2. 1998 Honda Civic                        (49,430)
3. 2006 Ford Pickup (Full Size)         (29,396)
4. 2004 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) (27,771)
5. 2014 Toyota Camry                     (15,466)
6. 2001 Dodge Pickup (Full Size)     (11,212)
7. 2014 Toyota Corolla                    (10,547)
8. 2015 Nissan Altima                     (10,374)
9. 2002 Dodge Caravan                    (9,798)
10. 2008 Chevrolet Impala                (9,225)

See the national report here. Download the 50-state report here.

The following are the top 10 2015 model year vehicles stolen during calendar year 2015:

1. Nissan Altima            (1,104)
2. Chrysler 200             (1,069)
3. Toyota Camry              (923)
4. Toyota Corolla             (776)
5. GMC Sierra                 (670)
6. Dodge Charger           (666)
7. Hyundai Sonata          (632)
8. Chevrolet Malibu         (629)
9. Chevrolet Impala         (594)
10. Chevrolet Cruze        (586)

Download the complete list of 2015’s top 25 most stolen from this spreadsheet.

“While older vehicles still dominate our Hot Wheels most stolen list, the number of late model vehicles with anti-theft protection on the list goes to show that technology isn’t foolproof,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “Criminals are doing their best to defeat anti-theft technology through hacking and other means while, at the same time, manufacturers and others are working to improve security.

“Far too often, drivers leave their vehicles unlocked or with the keys inside, making it way too easy for an opportunistic thief. And as we noted recently, many stolen cars are not reported as typical thefts to police because many of today’s thefts are financial crimes involving complicated VIN switching, cloning, straw buyers, illegal exports and other sophisticated criminal methods.”

Vehicle theft is a severe economic hardship for its victims—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 5, 2016. 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. Total thefts is the aggregate for each make/model with model year indicating the most stolen model year of all model years for each listing.

HotWheelsInfographic2015-Final-72216-WIDE

Tailgate Thefts Decrease 6% in 2015

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports today that insured tailgate thefts declined 6 percent in 2015 reversing a consecutive five-year escalating theft trend. In 2014, 1,895 claims for tailgate theft were identified in ISO ClaimSearch®, an insurance industry claims database. That number decreased to 1,787 in 2015 for a drop of 6 percent—the first decline in claims since NICB began reviewing them in 2010.

This table shows the annual tailgate theft claim numbers from 2010:

Year          Claims        
 2010  430
 2011  472
 2012  831
 2013  1,090
 2014  1,895
 2015  1,787

This report is based on insurance claims; therefore, the actual number of tailgate theft incidents may be considerably higher since many thefts do not generate an insurance claim.

The top five states for tailgate thefts—2014 and 2015 combined—were: Texas (1,421), California (875), Florida (252), Arizona (204), and Pennsylvania (68). The top five cities for tailgate thefts during these years were: Houston (300), Dallas (276), San Antonio (141), Phoenix (68), and Fresno, Calif. (51).

See the complete report here.

NX_pickup truck_rear_isoReplacing a tailgate is expensive. A new one from the manufacturer of a popular 2015 pickup truck is about $1,300 with even higher costs for some variants. That helps explain why there is a thriving underground market for vehicle parts, a market fed with parts removed from stolen vehicles.

The underground market is driven by demand for items that can be acquired at a fraction of their legitimate cost. Tailgates are no exception. While many of these stolen tailgates end up on similar vehicles, others are simply sold for scrap, which contributes to the nationwide problem of metal theft.

Tailgate thefts can occur anywhere; several episodes of multiple thefts have occurred in single locations, such as auto dealers’ lots and shopping malls. Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, consumers might consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock to thwart criminals.

Over 45,000 Motorcycles Stolen in 2015

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released a report on motorcycle thefts in the United States for 2015.  A total of 45,555 motorcycles were reported stolen in 2015 compared with 42,856 reported stolen in 2014-an increase of six percent.

Motorcycle-RideMotorcycle thefts have been on a consecutive, nine-year decline going from 66,774 thefts in 2006 to 42,856 in 2014 for a drop of 36 percent. When we include 2015’s number, the decline is still a healthy 32 percent for the period.

The top 10 states with the most reported motorcycles thefts in 2015 were California (7,221), Florida (4,758), Texas (3,403), South Carolina (2,160), New York (1,902), North Carolina (1,866), Nevada (1,408), Georgia (1,393) Indiana (1,333), and Virginia (1,253).

The top 10 cities for motorcycle thefts in 2015 were New York (1,340), Las Vegas (1,042), San Francisco (729), San Diego (717), Miami (713), Houston (517), Los Angeles (486) San Antonio (431), Indianapolis (375), and Albuquerque, (373).

The top 10 most stolen motorcycles in 2015 by manufacturer were American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (8,674 thefts), Yamaha Motor Corporation (7,214), American Suzuki Motor Corporation (6,065), Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (4,920), Harley Davidson, Inc. (4,416), Taotao Group Co. Ltd (2,757), KTM Sportmotorcycle AG (630), Astronautical Bashan (620), Jonway Group Co., Ltd. (520) and Kymco U.S.A., Inc. (512).

The most motorcycle thefts occurred in August (5,269) and the fewest in February (2,093) which continues to reflect a weather-influenced pattern that is consistent with previous years.

The complete report is available here or by pasting https://www.nicb.org/File%20Library/Public%20Affairs/2015-Motorcycle-Theft-ForeCAST.PDF  into your browser.

 

Cargo Theft Brought to Alabama Legislature

The Alabama legislature is considering a bill that would create a specific offense for cargo theft. Senate Bill 127 recognizes the impact that cargo theft has across the entire socio-economic spectrum.

cargo-theft1Cargo theft is a major national crime problem which adds to the cost of merchandise, food and transportation. Stolen food and pharmaceuticals pose a real health hazard and these commodities, along with electronics, continue to be the favorite target among cargo thieves.

It’s not hard to imagine the health implications for innocent consumers who unknowingly buy stolen food or drugs, which have been improperly stored or contaminated as they moved through the illicit commerce stream, believing that they are getting safe and secure products.

NICB produced a public service announcement describing the impact of cargo theft and it has been airing on radio and television stations across the nation. It is available here

NICB urges the Alabama legislature to pass SB 127 and provide law enforcement and prosecutors with a valuable tool in the fight against cargo theft. 

Car Thieves Don’t Take a Break for the Holidays

Shoppers heading out to pick up holiday gifts this season may fall victim to car thieves, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is working to help make the public more aware of theft.

The NICB issued this public service announcement across the country this month, making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to holiday shopping this year.

Top Holidays for Vehicle Theft in 2014

Holiday car thieves had their busiest day in 2014 on, ironically, Labor Day, stealing 2,200 vehicles according to new data released today by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). NICB’s 2014 Annual Holiday Vehicle Theft Report analyzes data from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which showed a total of 695,246 vehicle thefts for the year.

After Labor Day, New Year’s Day was the next most active holiday with 2,011 thefts. Halloween came in third with 2,010 thefts followed by Memorial Day with 1,933 thefts. Independence Day rounds out the top five holidays for 2014 with 1,877 thefts.

The holidays with the fewest thefts in 2014 were Christmas Day with 1,225 thefts and Thanksgiving with 1,384 thefts.

Holidays ranked by the number of thefts in 2014 were:

2014HolidayVehicleThefts
By comparison, the day with the most thefts in all of 2014 was July 7 with 2,361.

NICB reminds drivers this holiday season when leaving your vehicle for whatever reason to take a moment and be sure to hide your valuables from view. Even an empty backpack looks appealing to a thief from the outside.

See the full holiday vehicle theft report here. Watch a video report here.

Downward Trend in Motorcycle Thefts Continues


ladro di motoDES PLAINES, Ill., Oct. 28, 2015 — The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released a report on motorcycle thefts in the United States for 2014. A total of 42,856 motorcycles were reported stolen in 2014 compared with 45,367 reported stolen in 2013—a decrease of six percent.

This is welcome news for motorcycle owners since the drop comes at a time when overall motorcycle sales in 2014 increased by four percent over their 2013 total1.

The top 10 states with the most reported motorcycles thefts in 2014 were California (6,355), Florida (3,981), Texas (3,274), South Carolina (2,146), North Carolina (2,117), New York (1,544), Indiana (1,508), Nevada (1,488), Georgia (1,455) and Maryland (1,127).

The top 10 cities for motorcycle thefts in 2014 were Las Vegas (1,163), New York (1,034), San Diego (650), Miami (541), San Francisco (516), San Antonio (447), Houston (439), Indianapolis (422), Los Angeles (397) and Albuquerque, N.M. (390).

The top 10 most stolen motorcycles in 2014 by manufacturer were American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (8,045), Yamaha Motor Corporation (6,728), American Suzuki Motor Corporation (5,987), Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (4,497), Harley Davidson, Inc. (4,146), Taotao Group Co. Ltd (1,730), Astronautical Bashan (535), Jonway Group Co., Ltd. (503), KTM Sportmotorcycle AG (489) and Genuine Cycle (449).

The most motorcycle thefts occurred in August (4,965) and the fewest in February (1,978) reflecting a weather-influenced pattern that is consistent with previous years.

The complete report is available here or by pasting /File%20Library/Public%20Affairs/2014-Motorcycle-ForeCAST-Report-Public.pdf into your browser.

1. As reported by the Motorcycle Industry Council

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.

Hot Wheels Classics: Thefts of Pontiac Firebirds

When General Motors introduced the Pontiac Firebird in 1967, it joined the growing field of “muscle cars” populated with nameplates such as the Ford Mustang and Dodge Charger both of which were scoring commercial success in the marketplace.  

But as today’s new report shows, the Firebird was also a popular target for auto thieves with more than 250,000 of them reported stolen since they were introduced.

1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

Indeed, in the late 1960s, General Motors seized the opportunity by delivering models from four of its divisions-the Buick Skylark GS (Gran Sport), Chevrolet Camaro, Oldsmobile 4-4-2 and Pontiac Firebird, to name a few. They entered a market segment that provided new and powerful cars to satisfy the need of more youthful buyers looking to drive a “personal statement” not just a car.

It didn’t take long for the Firebird to develop a strong following and over the course of its production a Firebird variant–the Trans Am-further defined the brand and its owners. The Trans Am became an instant automotive icon when it “co-starred” with Burt Reynolds in 1977’s “Smokey and the Bandit.”

KITT-Car-Knightrider

“KITT” from the TV series Knight Rider

The Trans Am’s big-screen debut was followed in 1982 when a futuristic, talking, 1982 Trans Am known as “KITT” partnered with David Hasselhoff in television’s “Knight Rider” series.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reviewed Firebird theft data from 1981-2014 and identified 249,670 theft records. Although theft data from 1967 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 calendar years for Firebird thefts were 1989 (19,792 thefts), 1988 (19,332), 1990 (17,785), 1987 (17,410) and 1991 (16,430). The five calendar years with the fewest thefts were 2014 (445), 2013 (585), 2012 (676), 2011 (701) and 2010 (731).

As for thieves’ most preferred model year Firebird? That distinction belongs to 1986’s model with 26,881 reported thefts. Next comes 1984 with 25,533 thefts. In third place is 1987 with 22,257 thefts. 1982 (21,213 thefts) and 1985 (20,929) round out the top five model years.

See the complete report here.

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