Phone: 630-495-2282 Fax: 630-495-2260 Map/Directions

Studies on stolen vehicles show tastes vary

November 24, 2010

An 11-year-old Toyota Camry still has plenty of appeal. In fact, the most appeal of all cars in this country. For thieves.

The 1991, 1989 and 1990 Camry models, respectively, topped an annual list of theft claims from auto insurers. CCC Information Services, Inc., a Chicago-based supplier of software and communications systems, performed the study.

Overall, CCC said car thefts, which it measures only as vehicles which are stolen and not recovered in usable form, were down 2.7 percent in 2001 from 2000. Vehicles stolen for joyrides or are otherwise returned to owners for continued use are not included.

Thieves continue to target an increasing number of SUVs and pickups, although the only truck or SUV in the CCC's top 10 for 2001 was the Chevrolet Silverado 1500. Overall, thefts of trucks and SUVs rose 7 percent in 2001 from the year earlier, the organization reported.

The Ford F-150, which in 2000 had ranked ninth in the CCC's theft list, fell to 12th in 2001.

Meantime, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which tallies all vehicles reported stolen by law enforcement agencies each year, reported in its most recent study, for calendar 2000, the Camry was the most stolen vehicle and the Honda Accord was second. Both are among America's top selling autos.

The NICB study list vehicles by make but not by year. Its figures include all reports of vehicle theft, including cars that have a few parts removed or are taken for joyrides and later recovered, and vehicles which are taken and never reappear.

The most-stolen vehicles list developed by NICB involves far more incidents than the CCC: 1.16 million incidents in the 2000 NICB report to 78,000 theft reports in the 2001 CCC survey.
Robert Bryant, chief executive of the NICB, urges car owners to take precautions against theft.

"Motorists driving theft-prone vehicles should consider installing a visible deterrent such as a steering wheel lock, an alarm, a starter or fuel disabler, and a tracking device. Added protection layers make a vehicle harder to steal," Bryant said.

"The NICB study confirms the growing popularity of pickups, minivans and SUVs on a national basis among thieves," he said.

"Vehicle thieves follow market trends and target the most popular vehicles because they provide the best market for stolen vehicle parts and illegal export to other countries."

For Chicago, the NICB report shows nine of the 10 most stolen vehicles are domestic branded and most are cars. Chevrolet pickups, rather than cars, seem to disappear more frequently than other vehicles in Tucson and Phoenix, Ariz., Freso, Calif., and Dallas, Texas.

Stolen vehicles that are not recovered, according to NICB data, typically are

• Shipped overseas or driven across U.S. borders; 
• Stripped or disassembled and sold as parts; 
• Reregistered and sold to unsuspecting used-car customers; 
• Hidden or destroyed by owners attempting to collect an insurance settlement.