America's 10 Most Stolen Cars (and Why)

Street with long row of cars parked along a tree avenue

In 2016, 236.9 vehicles were stolen per 100,000 people. And while vehicle thefts have been trending downward for the past 25 years, it's still a problem. Even in 2017, vehicle thefts increased 4.1%.

We've put together a list of the 10 most stolen cars, some reasons why they're stolen, and what you can do to prevent the theft of your own. But first, a word of caution.

You Might Think No One Wants That Old Ride, But You're Wrong

If you have an older car, you might think you aren't going to be the target of theft. But you're wrong.

Most car thefts involve older models. The reason? They don't include the smart key technology that prevents the engine from starting without the fob. 

Of course, this doesn't prevent all newer cars from being stolen. There are stories all of the time of people leaving keys inside of parked or idling cars. This makes it all too easy for thieves to target almost any car they want.

The bottom line? All cars can get stolen, and yours could be included.

jeep grand cherokee

10. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee (2000) - 9,245 stolen in 2016

Jeeps, like a lot of SUVs, have easy-to-steal, expensive parts. Most basic Jeep models don't have security prevention systems, which makes them an even more attractive option for thieves.

chevy impala

9. Chevrolet Impala (2008) - 9,749 stolen in 2016

Chevrolet Impalas are known to be easy to steal. Specifically, thieves use a screwdriver to pop the lock, get into the steering column, and steal the car.

Car thieves love an easy steal, and the Impala tops this list.

toyota corolla

8. Toyota Corolla (2015) - 11,989 stolen in 2016

Corollas, like the Camrys discussed below, have a high resale value on parts. As an inexpensive car, thieves love to dissemble Corollas for parts to sell.

dodge ram

7. Ram Pickup (2001) - 12,128 stolen in 2016

Pickups are targeted for removable parts that people are looking to replace. Most commonly, they're targeted for the tailgates or the wheels. 

Since these parts are hard to remove quickly, many thieves steal the vehicle and leave it abandoned after removing the parts. Pickups are also a target because thieves believe toolboxes or other accessories might be inside. This is a source of additional cash.

nissan altima

6. Nissan Altima (2015) - 12,221 stolen in 2016

The Altima comes standard with two very expensive, easy-to-sell parts: high-end Xenon headlights. 

In less than a minute, thieves can steal over $1,100 worth of parts off an Altima, costing the owner of the car $4,000 for repair. The Altima has a huge demand for parts, and the black market is constantly on the lookout for these particular lights.

toyota camry

5. Toyota Camry (2016) - 16,732 stolen in 2016

Camry parts have a high resale value. The parts sold separately are worth more than the car itself. 

Many stolen Camrys also end up making a long trip overseas, where they end up as taxis. These cars also have parts that remain consistent throughout the years, so many end up being parted out.

chevy silverado

4. Chevrolet Silverado Pickup (2004) - 31,238 stolen in 2016

There is nothing unique about one pickup truck that makes it more of a target for theft than another. The 2004 Silverado has less advanced safety features than its later counterparts, making it more of a target.

ford f-150

3. Ford F-Series Pickup (2006) - 32,721 stolen in 2016

Again, pickups are targeted for parts. A Ford Pickup is no different from the other pickups mentioned above. That's why there is only a difference of about 1,000 car in how many of each are stolen.

Ford trucks are the most stolen of all large vehicles because they sell high on the black market. They can be easily disassembled and sold for parts. Many thieves will also use these vehicles as storage for future crime sprees.

honda civic

2. Honda Civic (1998) - 49,547 stolen in 2016

Honda Civics - and Accords too - are some of the most popular cars on the road. So it's a bit of a fallacy when they top out the most stolen cars list. More cars on the road means that this model gets stolen more, too. 

Hondas are super-easy to break into. Thieves only need a ground-down Honda key to gain access to any Honda vehicle. Also, the location of the unlock switch makes it easy for thieves to gain access. 

The parts are easy to resell, and there are a lot of these cars.

honda accord

1. Honda Accord (1997) - 50,427 stolen in 2016

By far, the top choice of auto thieves everywhere is the Honda Accord. 

Here's why Hondas (and Accords specifically) top the list:

  • It takes most experienced car thieves under 120 seconds to break in
  • An easy-to-locate bypass switch
  • Vulnerable to down key access
  • Vulnerable ignition

There have been some security upgrades in recent years. 1998 was the first year Honda introduced smart keys. And in 2016, Honda Civics (the 2016 model) didn't even make the list of the most stolen cars. 

If you have an older Honda Accord, know that you're at risk. If you have a newer model, you have a lot less to worry about.

5 Ways to Protect Your Car from Theft

It doesn’t matter what you drive, you need to protect it. Here are a few tips to keep your vehicle where it belongs:

1. Never leave your keys in the vehicle.

2. Never leave your car running - even for a ten-second trip inside.

3. Keep valuables and charging cords out of sight.

4. Use a paint marker or engrave the vehicle identification number (VIN) under the hood, on the trunk lid and on the battery.

5. Invest in layered car security. This can include a professionally installed alarm with extra security such as a car boot, tracking system or steering wheel lock.

When shopping for a car alarm, always look up reviews for the system and where you'll have it installed. Larger retailers that don’t specialize in alarms may install the cut-off device or wiring in a place that's easy to spot, making them easy for thieves to bypass.

The Bottom Line

If a thief is determined to steal your car, they probably will. If you have any of the models that made this list, the chances are even higher. But with the right preventive methods, you can prevent theft where possible.

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