Like it or not, it seems there's always someone out there who wants your vehicle if it is one of the vehicles on the list of most stolen vehicles. And even more interesting is the fact that many of those vehicles on the list are not new models. Indeed, the leading vehicles boosted in 2020 were not cars but were trucks, not even brand-new pickups.
Chevy Trucks In Second Place
The list shows that Ford trucks were a favorite target of car thieves in 2020,
and in an ironic twist that recalls how competition in the truck market occurs, Chevrolet was the second-favorite target of car thieves. Neither of the top models is brand-new.
To be sure, there are several newer models on the list. However, the new vehicles are not at the top of the list. Instead, vehicles from 2006 and 2004, and 2000 were among the top 10, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), which recently published its annual "Hot Wheels" list. The group analyzes law enforcement agencies' data submitted to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).
Here are the top 10 stolen vehicles for 2020:
Ford F-150: Ford’s F-150 is a favorite with vehicle thieves. According to the "Hot Wheels" report, truck thieves stole 44,014 2006 F-150s in 2020. Why did they target the 2006 F-150? There is no information on that aspect of the vehicle theft wave on the "Hot Wheels" list. The list notes that the number of pickups thieves stole in 2020 was up 13 percent from 2019.
Despite older Ford F-159s leading in thefts, new F-150s have had their IIHS ratings improved.
Chevy Silverado: Like the monthly sales figures, the number two spot is occupied by the Chevy Silverado. The listing doesn't differentiate between the light-duty and heavy-duty models. There were 40,698 models stolen in 2020.
The Silverado's 25.7 percent increase bumped a car down to number three, believe it or not. Instead of the Honda Civic in second place, the Silverado now sits there. And, like the F-150, instead of late-model or new models, thieves preferred models from 2004.
Honda Civic: The 2000 Honda Civic was bumped from the second spot in 2019 to number three in 2020. There was no explanation as to why it lost a place. However, one wonders why thieves would prefer one of the vehicles impacted by the massive Takata airbag inflator scandal for this. The 2000-2003 Honda Civic, to explain, formed a cluster of vehicles that was massively impacted by the airbag recall. The rates were in the 25 to 30 percent arena, according to various studies.
Honda Civic Bumped A Spot
Honda Accord: This is an interesting departure. It seems that a mid-1990s Honda Accord is the preferred target of car thieves. That's right, the Honda Accord from 1996 occupies this spot in the Top 10. It might be that this model is easier to boost than others, or it might be that since the Honda Accord from the 1990s was a strong vehicle that people keep them on the road for long periods, and others want them. There was no explanation of this aberration, either.
Toyota Camry: There was a total of 16,915 2019 Camrys stolen in 2020. It is an 8.0 percent increase over 2019.
Nissan Altima: The 2020 Altima was a favorite target of thieves in 2020. There was no accounting of why it is in this spot, but it is. In 2020, there were 14,668 Altimas boosted. It is an increase of 9.8 percent
GMC Sierra: You would think that since the GMC Sierra is the corporate twin of the Chevy Silverado that it would be right behind the Chevrolet model, but it is not. Instead, it is five places behind the Chev. At 13,016 stolen, it is in the number seven spot. It is a 16.6 percent increase over 2019.
Toyota Corolla: Toyota's Corolla has been a popular car since it was introduced last century. Again, there was no explanation about the why of this particular rating. It might have been the car itself or its electronics. It is a 2020 model, after all. This is just our speculation at Torque News. There were 12,515 Corollas stolen in 2020, or a 3.1 percent increase over 2019.
Older Honda CR-V A Favored Target
Honda CR-V: Another older model was in the sights of car thieves in 2020. Honda's 2000 CR-V occupies this spot. Again, there is no explanation as to why this is the case. Suffice to say that it could be something to do with the year of the model and its anti-theft features. The interesting issue is that the 2000 CR-V had anti-theft features that kept vehicles in place unless you were a professional car thief or a very determined amateur. There were 12,309 pickups stolen for a 21.9 percent increase over 2019.
Dodge Ram: The 2001 Dodge Ram pickup was still considered part of the carmaker’s Dodge lineup. It wasn't until relatively recently – 2015 or 2016 – that the RAM became a nameplate on its own. In 2020, there were 11,991 Dodge Ram models stolen, a 6.1 percent increase over 2019.
The NICB had some excellent advice if you want your vehicle to remain your vehicle. First, it advises that you take the keys out of the ignition. That omission is almost a guarantee that someone will take your vehicle. The thief doesn't have to be a pro to boost your vehicle.
Also, park in a lighted, well-traveled parking lot or garage. This way, it is less likely someone will come up on the dark side to your vehicle and take your vehicle with a "slim jim" or another theft tool. Even with today's advances in anti-theft technology, you will find that thieves, with the right tools, can get into your car quickly and be gone with it in a few minutes, especially if your car is parked in a darkened area.
Some Parking Suggestions
If you must park in a darkened area, it's best to pull the vehicle in, so the driver's door is near a wall or other obstacle. This way, a thief can pop open the driver's door and be on the way.
Two other good pieces of advice from NICB:
Install a steering wheel lock similar device. There are tempered devices that resist tools that will ensure your vehicle remains yours.
Install a gas cutoff switch. Be sure it is well hidden. A fuel cutoff switch will let your vehicle move a few feet, stopping in the middle of the road, leaving any thief high and dry.
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, and others. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.