Today, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released its annual list of the United States’ most-stolen cars and trucks. Ford trucks top the ‘Hot Wheels’ report for the second year in a row.
Full-size Ford trucks are still the United States’ most-stolen vehicles, but 2020 saw a steep increase in the theft of full-size Chevy trucks. The NICB’s “Hot Wheels” report found that thieves stole 26% more Chevy trucks in 2020 than in 2019, which vaulted the trucks past the Honda Civic into second place on the list.
The NICB also found that car thefts increased across the board in 2020. David Glawe, president and CEO of the organization, cited COVID-19 among the factors that influenced the heightened crime rate.
“Auto thefts saw a dramatic increase in 2020 versus 2019 in part due to the pandemic, an economic downturn, law enforcement realignment, depleted social and schooling programs, and, in still too many cases, owner complacency,” Glawe said.
Every car on the most-stolen cars list saw a theft increase from 2019 to 2020. But Ford, Chevy, and GMC trucks and the Honda CR-V were the only vehicles to post double-digit percentage jumps.
Typically, popular cars are targets. Successful car theft involves a smooth operation and easy parting out or resale. Cars that use universally available parts and blend into the crowd are low-hanging fruit.
Don’t want your trusty steed to end up in a chop shop? Try the time-tested “Hide Lock Take” method. Hiding your belongings, locking your car, and taking your keys and valuables with you can work wonders.
However, that doesn’t always do the trick. As the owner of an extremely popular model year of GMC half-ton truck, I’ve had both my door handles forced within the last year. I still have the truck, along with most of my valuables, but it can be a vexing problem.
In its guidelines to protect against theft, the NICB doesn’t offer much beyond using common sense and a car alarm — the first line of defense it suggests is to remove your keys from the ignition.
If your car has some kind of immobilizing firewall that prevents hotwiring, you’re relatively safe. If not, you could always try a third-party GPS tracker. Some varieties notify you or even ping a police monitoring system if they detect thievery.