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Where cars are most likely to be stolen

November 16, 2018
Motor vehicle theft in the U.S. in 2017 remained effectively unchanged from 2016, when the rate increased by nearly 7 percent. Last year, there were 773,139 motor vehicle thefts across the country, a rate of 237.4 per 100,000 residents.
Of course, where one lives can greatly increase or decrease the chances of a car getting stolen. 24/7 Wall Street determined the city in every state where cars are most likely to be stolen, based on data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
The city with the highest rate of car thefts in a state is not necessarily the city with the poorest community or the biggest crime problems. The majority of the 50 cities have lower poverty rates, higher education levels, and higher household incomes than their respective statewide figures.
Illinois experienced 24,254 vehicle thefts in 2017, an average of 254.4 cars per 100,000 residents. The Dodge Caravan proved the most stolen model. The metro area with the most car thefts was, natch, Chicago.
Indianans saw 7,484 vehicle thefts, an average of 368.9 thefts per 100,000 residents. The state’s most stolen vehicle was a full-size Ford pickup, and Indianapolis proved to be the metro area with the most thefts.
Auto thefts in the U.S. are often carefully planned, highly lucrative schemes for those who are able to evade capture. According to the NICB, many cars are stolen by large organized crime rings running sizable operations. Often, the rings operate out of certain major cities.
Some cars are much more likely to be stolen than others. While expensive exotic cars might seem to be the most efficient way to a large payout for a criminal, common cars such as Honda’s Accord and Civic, and Chevrolet and Ford pickup trucks are by far the most stolen vehicles in America. That is especially true of older models without modern security features.
In a state with only one metropolitan area — New Hampshire, for example — the Manchester-Nashua metro area by default has the highest rate of car theft. However, Nashua has a car theft rate of just 62.7 for every 100,000 residents, which is one of the lowest of any metro area. The same goes for Providence, Rhode Island.
In Maine, just 88 cars were reported stolen in 2017, an average of 57.9 vehicles per 100,000 residents.