Which States Have the Most Cases of Car Theft and Vandalism?

Lucy Lazarony
November 20, 2020

In the United States, 721,885 motor vehicles were stolen in 2019. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) offers yearly car theft statistics for the United States. Here is a look at the states with the most motor vehicle thefts as well as a look at the states with the top 10 fewest motor vehicle thefts.

States with the Most Cars Stolen in 2019

  1. California 141,757 stolen vehicles
  2. Texas 77,489 stolen vehicles
  3. Florida 39,048 stolen vehicles
  4. Washington 24,402 stolen vehicles
  5. Georgia 23,776 stolen vehicles
  6. Colorado 22,113 stolen vehicles
  7. Missouri 21,072 stolen vehicles
  8. Tennessee 19,180 stolen vehicles
  9. Illinois 18,775 stolen vehicles
  10. Ohio 18,672 stolen vehicles

States with the Fewest Auto Thefts in 2019

  1. Vermont 298 cars stolen
  2. Wyoming 713 stolen vehicles
  3. Maine 726 stolen vehicles
  4. New Hampshire 893 stolen vehicles
  5. Rhode Island 1,358 stolen vehicles
  6. Idaho 1,571 stolen vehicles
  7. Delaware 1,604 stolen vehicles
  8. South Dakota 1,756 stolen vehicles
  9. North Dakota 1,792 stolen vehicles
  10. Washington, D.C. 2,333 stolen vehicles

States With Rising Car Theft Rates

Eleven states saw motor vehicle theft rates increase from 2018 to 2019. These states are Missouri, Texas, Arkansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Michigan and New Hampshire.

The Cost of Motor Vehicle Theft in the United States

About $6.4 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2019. And the average dollar loss per theft was $8,886. Motor vehicles were stolen at a rate of 219.9 per 100,000 people in 2019, which was down from 230.2 in 2018. So the motor vehicle theft while still high is moving in the right direction.

The Most Stolen Motor Vehicles in the United States

The Honda Civic is the most frequently stolen passenger car in the United States. According to NICB, most of these thefts are of older Civic models that lack anti-theft technology. The Honda Accord ranks second among vehicle thefts.

Here is a look at the top 10 most frequently stolen vehicles in 2019.

At the top is the full size Ford Pickup with 38,938 stolen vehicles. Second is the Honda Civic with 33,220 stolen vehicles. Third is the full size Chevrolet Pickup with 32,583 stolen vehicles. Fourth is the Honda Accord with 30,745 stolen vehicles. Fifth is the Toyota Camry with 15,656 stolen vehicles. Sixth is the Nissan Altima with 13,355 stolen vehicles. Seventh is Toyota Corolla with 12,137 stolen vehicles. Eighth is the full size Dodge Pickup with 11,292 stolen vehicles. Ninth is the full size GMC Pickup with 11,164 stolen vehicles. And 10th is the Honda CR-V with 10,094 stolen vehicles.

Holidays When Car Thieves Strike

Holidays are a wonderful time for people to get together but it is also a time when auto thieves strike. Here is a list of the top holidays for auto theft. Tops is New Year’s Day, followed by President’s Day, Halloween, Labor Day, Memorial Day, New Year’s Eve, Independence Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

How To Protect Your Car From Thieves

NICB recommends four key tips for guarding against motor vehicle theft.

The first tip is using common sense and always removing car keys from the ignition, locking doors and windows and parking in well-lit areas. The second tip is using warning devices and this includes visible and audible alarms. Alarms are available for all makes and models of car. So be sure to choose the alarm that’s right for your vehicle. And don’t forget visual devices, which include steering wheel locks and brake locks.

The third tip involves immobilization devices. Immobilization devices prevent thieves from bypassing the ignition and hot-wiring the car. These devices include smart keys, fuse cut-offs, kill switches and starter, ignition and fuel pump disablers. The fourth tip is to use tracking devices. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems 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 by computer.

What Is Vehicle Vandalism?

Thieves don’t have to steal your car, they could vandalize it instead. Vehicle vandalism occurs when someone intentionally damages your car. Getting keyed, slashed tires and a broken window are all examples of vandalism that could happen to your vehicle.

If your vehicle has been vandalized, call the police and report the incident. Make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. If it has to be towed, be sure to take out your personal belongings.

Call your insurance company and let them know your vehicle has been vandalized. An insurance adjuster will want to come out and inspect the damage. Save receipts for any materials that you buy to protect the vehicle. You may be reimbursed for these items by your insurance company. Take photos of your car from every angle to document your claim.

Here’s what you’ll need to say to your insurance company when calling about the vandalism. Give them the date and time of the incident, tell them where the damage occurred on your car and where your car was parked. You’ll also need to give them the police report number and your phone number.

To protect your car from vandalism in the future, park it inside a locked garage and park it under street lights when you are parking on the street. If you are parking in a driveway, install motion-sensor lights so you’ll be alerted when anyone comes near your vehicle.

Another way to prevent vandalism is to install a car alarm. You’ll also want to hide your valuables. Lock your valuables in the trunk of your car or keep them at home. If a thief sees valuables in your car, he or she may break the window and grab the valuable. Following these steps will help to minimize your chances of being a victim of vehicle vandalism.

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