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Most Wanted (Stolen) Vehicles

Jul 14, 13 Most Wanted (Stolen) Vehicles

It only takes a few minutes for a professional car thief to break into your vehicle, start it up and drive it away. By the time you go into the convenience store, buy a drink and a bag of chips, your car could be long gone.

Although there is no 100 percent guarantee your car will not get stolen, here are a few tips to reduce the odds. Park your vehicle in plain sight and, if at night, park in a well-lit area. Do not leave the keys in the ignition. Do not have your spare set of keys in or on your vehicle. If your vehicle is going to be left unattended for more than a few days, it might be wise to remove the battery. And certainly do not leave any valuables lying around in plain sight. All these tips will decrease the risk of your vehicle or belongings coming up missing; but, if a thief really wants it, it will be gone.

From 2010 to 2012, if you drove an SUV or a truck, your vehicle was at the greatest risk of being stolen. According to the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), trucks and SUVs made up all of the top ten most stolen vehicles in the two previous years. Here is their list.

And the vehicle that was the most sought after was the four-wheel-drive Ford F-250 crew cab, with a theft claim of seven per 1000 trucks insured. The F-250 knocked the Cadillac Escalade from the podium, which now places sixth, with a theft rate of 5.5 per 1000. The findings may not be as accurate as they should be, because HLDI doesn’t differentiate stolen contents or components from complete vehicles.

Another independent survey from The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) says the Dodge Charger was the most stolen vehicle. Their study uses the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report instead of insurance claims. Results are 73 percent of stolen vehicles were passenger cars, not trucks or SUVs.

However, car thieves are having a little tougher time boosting cars now-a-days. For instance, 89 percent of vehicle manufactured in 2012 had ignition immobilizers installed as a standard feature.

According to NHTSA in 2006, only four percent of comprehensive claims were vehicle theft related, but consisted of 21 percent of the total payments. In 2010, more than $4.3 billion was the value of vehicles stolen, according to NHTSA.

Thieves don’t only go after just vehicles, they will remove or detach a variety of parts and accessories, including engines, transmission, air bags, and radios. But the list is not only vehicle related objects; GPS devices, iPods, laptops, and purses are also snatched if one is left in sight of a passing thief.

Image Credit: Martin Fischer / Shutterstock

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