Driving

STUDY: The 15 most stolen cars in the U.S.

The Honda Accord is the most stolen car of the past decade, according to a study by The Zebra.

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After purchasing a home or paying to get a four-year college degree, buying a car is one of the most expensive purchases Americans make throughout their lives. Out of these big purchases, it’s also the easiest to steal. Recently, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reported an unprecedented uptick in carjackings across the nation — with major cities like New York and Philadelphia experiencing triple-digit increases from 2019 to 2021.

This dramatic increase in auto thefts and carjackings is attributed to a variety of factors related to the pandemic, such as reduced in-school attendance and economic decline, but one frequent and preventable cause is owner complacency. It’s important that car owners are aware of the current rise in auto thefts and take steps to protect their cars.

To compile a list of the most vulnerable auto theft targets, The Zebra analyzed NICB data from 2010 to 2020 to determine the most stolen cars in the nation. Below are some key findings on the top stolen cars.

Key findings:

  • The most stolen car of the past decade is the Honda Accord.
  • 8 out of 15 of the most stolen cars of the last ten years are made by Japanese automakers.
  • American models tend to be the most common target when it comes to stolen pickup trucks.
  • From 2019-2021, Ford full-size pickups were the most stolen vehicles in the nation.
  • Pickups are the main target of car thieves in 32 states.

Keep reading for more information on current and state auto theft trends. Don’t forget to jump down to the infographic for helpful tips and tech to outsmart potential auto thieves.

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15 most stolen cars in America over the past decade

Using NICB Hot Wheels Reports from 2010-2020, The Zebra identified the 15 most stolen cars over the past decade. We’ve compiled data on the total amount of thefts for each vehicle over the last 10 years and also listed which models are common targets for auto thieves.

Our analysis revealed America's top stolen car over the last decade is the Honda Accord. We also found that car thieves often target vehicles made by Japanese automakers, with eight of the top 15 cars being Japanese models. When it comes to the most stolen pickups, however, American brands are preferred. Check out the table below for a quick breakdown of the top 15 most stolen vehicles.

 

Most stolen cars from 2010-2020

Rank

Most stolen vehicle

Number of thefts

1

Honda Accord

513,025

2

Honda Civic

471,327

3

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

337,287

4

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

308,105

5

Toyota Camry

180,722

6

Dodge Pickups (Full-Size)

128,313

7

Nissan Altima

112,776

8

Toyota Corolla

89,864

9

Dodge Caravan

55,257

10

GMC Pickups (Full-Size)

46,753

11

Acura Integra

36,000

12

Chevrolet Impala

28,461

13

Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

28,335

14

Honda CR-V

22,403

15

Nissan Maxima

13,533

 

1. Honda Accord

With over 500,000 vehicle thefts from 2010 to 2020, the Honda Accord clocks in as the number one most stolen car in America. A popular pick for car thieves across the nation, owners of the Accord should take steps to protect their car when they’re not around.

The most frequently targeted models tend to be from the mid to late ’90s because they lack the anti-theft technology that’s standard in more modern cars. With these older models, it’s important to take extra precautions and use anti-theft devices like steering wheel locks or brake locks.

  • Frequently stolen model years: 1994, 1996, 1997
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 513,025

2. Honda Civic

Coming in second on this list, the Honda Civic trails closely behind the Accord for the most thefts over the last 10 years. Similar to the Accord, older models from the ’90s and early 2000s are preferred by auto thieves because of their lack of anti-theft technology. If you own one of these models, remember to exercise common sense when parking your vehicle and add protection with anti-theft devices.

  • Frequently stolen model years: 1995, 1998, 2000
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 471,327

3. Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

Ford pickups like the F-Series are one of the best-selling vehicles in America, so it’s no surprise that they’re also the third most stolen vehicle and the most stolen pickup in the country. With nearly 6 million units of the F-Series sold, one of these models is likely to be parked in virtually every city across the nation. Whether you’re parked on a quiet neighborhood road or a busy urban street, make sure to take precautions before leaving your car.

  • Frequently stolen model years: 1997, 2006
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 337,287

4. Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

Chevrolet pickups are the fourth most stolen vehicles in America, with over 300,000 thefts over the past decade. They’re also the second most stolen pickups in the nation behind Ford models. Chevy pickup owners should beware, as thefts of these models have increased by 26% since 2019, more than any other vehicle on this list. Given trends from the last 10 years, this number isn’t expected to decline.

  • Frequently stolen model years: 1999, 2004
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 308,105

5. Toyota Camry

As a popular car model known for its reliability and longevity, the Toyota Camry is a common target for auto theft. Unlike its competitor, the Honda Accord, car thieves typically steal newer models despite the presence of anti-theft technology. For sixth- and seventh-generation Camry owners, it may be beneficial to install tracking devices in your car in case of theft.

  • Most frequently stolen model years: 1994, 2007, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 180,722

6. Dodge Pickups (Full-Size)

Also known as Ram trucks, Dodge full-size pickups are not only popular with the American public but also with car thieves too. Whether you own the Ram 1500, 2500 or 3500, be aware that your truck may be a target of theft.

  • Frequently stolen model year: 2001, 2004
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 128,313

7. Nissan Altima

With nearly 113,000 models stolen over the last decade, the Nissan Altima comes in seventh on our list of most stolen vehicles. As one of the only car models on this list to have one of its most recent model years (2020) frequently targeted by auto thieves, the Altima is a prime example of how car thieves will steal what’s available and not just what has the most outdated technology.

  • Frequently stolen model years: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2020
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 112,776

8. Toyota Corolla

Despite its 10-year theft total being under 100,000 vehicles, the Toyota Corolla comes in at number eight on our list of most stolen cars. With over 50 million Corollas sold across the globe, it’s no wonder that a range of models spanning from 2014 to 2020 fall victim to theft.

  • Frequently stolen model years: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 89,864

9. Dodge Caravan

Thanks to its reputation as a family van, the Dodge Caravan can be found all across America. During the earlier half of the past decade, the Caravan was popular among auto thieves and had high theft numbers from 2010 to 2015. These years contributed to the Caravan coming in as the ninth most stolen vehicle, but recent years have seen a decline in their thefts.

  • Frequently stolen model years: 2000, 2002
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 55,257

10. GMC Pickups (Full-Size)

Taking the tenth spot on this list, GMC full-size pickups are another frequently stolen truck series across the nation. The frequency of thefts for these pickup models is also on the rise, increasing nearly 17% from 2019.

  • Frequently stolen model years: 2005, 2017, 2018
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 46,753

11. Acura Integra

Often stolen in the beginning half of the last decade, the Acura Integra was targeted enough to earn a place among the most stolen cars. Owners of the 1994 Integra should consider using extra anti-theft protection for their car, since it’s a frequently stolen model with less technology to deter thieves.

  • Frequently stolen model year: 1994
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 36,000

12. Chevrolet Impala

Although the Chevrolet Impala was recently discontinued, it still makes it onto this list of most stolen cars from the last 10 years. The highest years for thefts of this vehicle occurred during the middle of the decade, which may be because there are now fewer models on the road.

  • Frequently stolen model year: 2008
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 28,461

13. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

The majorly popular Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee is another vehicle that is frequently stolen. It also happens to be one of two SUVs to make this list. Despite this vehicle’s widespread popularity, the total number of Cherokee and Grand Cherokee thefts is surprisingly under 30,000 over the past decade.

  • Frequently stolen model year: 2004
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 28,335

14. Honda CR-V

As the only other SUV on this list, the Honda CR-V is relatively new to this bunch of top stolen cars. With thefts rising in both 2019 and 2020, enough of these compact SUVs were swiped for it to land a spot on this list. With early-2000s models as a common pick for thieves, CR-V owners will want to be aware that their vehicle is a new target.

  • Frequently stolen model years: 2000, 2001
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 22,403

15. Nissan Maxima

Nissan’s sportier sedan offering just snags the last spot on this list of most stolen cars. With under 15,000 total thefts, the Maxima isn’t as much of a target for car thieves as other cars on this list. Regardless, Maxima owners must stay alert to the possibility of auto theft.

  • Frequently stolen model year: 1996
  • Number of thefts over last decade: 13,533

Top 10 stolen cars of 2020

Although the rankings differ from the list above, the top 10 most frequently stolen vehicles of 2020 are all models that appear on our list of most stolen cars from the past decade. According to the latest NICB Hot Wheels report, the most stolen vehicles of that year were the Ford full-size pickup series, followed by the Chevrolet full-size pickup series.

 

 

Most stolen cars 

Rank

Most stolen vehicle

Number of thefts

Most frequent model year stolen

1

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

44,014

2006

2

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

40,968

2004

3

Honda Civic

34,144

2000

4

Honda Accord

30,814

2000

5

Toyota Camry

16,915

2019

6

Nissan Altima

14,668

2020

7

GMC Pickups (Full-Size)

13,016

2005

8

Toyota Corolla

12,515

2020

9

Honda CR-V

12,309

2000

10

Dodge Pickups (Full-Size)

11,991

2001

 

 

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Most stolen cars by state

Based on the most recent Hot Wheels Report, we also compiled data on the top stolen car in each state. The Ford Full-Size Pickup was the most stolen car in a majority of states. It was the top stolen vehicle in 17 states, just edging out the Chevrolet Full-Size Pickup, which was the most stolen in only 15 states.

Both of these pickup series came in as number one in states across the nation, but they were predominantly swiped from car owners in the South, Midwest, Southwest and around the Rocky Mountains. In contrast, popular Honda sedans dominated auto thefts on either coast. The Honda Accord was the most stolen among a majority of states on the East Coast, while the Honda Civic was a go-to for car thieves all along the West Coast.

For a breakdown of the most stolen vehicles in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, check out the table below.

 

Top stolen cars in each state

State

Most stolen vehicle

Most frequent model year stolen

Number of thefts

Alabama

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

2020/2003

515

Alaska

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

2003

170

Arizona

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

2004

1,298

Arkansas

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

2004

455

California

Honda Civic

2000

16,625

Colorado

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2006

2,231

Connecticut

Honda Accord

2014

262

Delaware

Nissan Altima

2020

66

District of Columbia

Toyota Camry

2016

229

Florida

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2006

2,096

Georgia

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2006

1,152

Hawaii

Honda Civic

2000

147

Idaho

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

2006

97

Illinois

Jeep Cherokee/Grand

Cherokee

2015

932

Indiana

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2004

785

Iowa

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

2006

348

Kansas

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2006

696

Kentucky

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2004

497

Louisiana

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2013

682

Maine

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

2020

35

Maryland

Honda Accord

2017

646

Massachusetts

Honda Accord

2013/2009

294

Michigan

Dodge Charger

2018

755

Minnesota

Honda Civic

2000

660

Mississippi

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

2007

338

Missouri

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2006

2,051

Montana

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

2004/2002

186

Nebraska

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

2004

392

Nevada

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

2005

669

New Hampshire

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2019/1995

24

New Jersey

Honda Accord

2017

541

New Mexico

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2006

497

New York

Honda Accord

2019

770

North Carolina

Honda Accord

1997

810

North Dakota

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

2001

118

Ohio

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2004

762

Oklahoma

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

2005

1,525

Oregon

Honda Civic

2000

1,532

Pennsylvania

Honda Accord

2003/1997

472

Puerto Rico

Toyota Corolla

2017

193

Rhode Island

Honda Accord

2007

87

South Carolina

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2006

828

South Dakota

Chevrolet Pickups (Full-Size)

1999

127

Tennessee

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2006

858

Texas

Chevrolet Pickups (Full Size)

2018

9,382

Utah

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2006

546

Vermont

Ford Pickups (Full-Size) / Subaru Impreza/ Toyota Corolla

2019/2008/2005

10

Virginia

Honda Accord

2014

381

Washington

Honda Civic

1998

2,682

West Virginia

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2008

137

Wisconsin

Honda Civic

2000

443

Wyoming

Ford Pickups (Full-Size)

2004

54

 

Does insurance cover a stolen car?

Having your car stolen is a dreadful experience, and the worry of how you will afford to replace it only adds to the nightmare. Luckily, if you have comprehensive coverage, your car insurance will generally cover your stolen car. If you only have liability or collision coverage, however, car theft is not generally covered.


It’s important to note that although a stolen vehicle is covered with a comprehensive auto policy, any personal property that’s stolen from your car is not. Most personal belongings are covered by a home or renters insurance policy, though, even if they’re in your car when they’re taken.

Tech to outsmart car thieves

Modern car designs have made incredible advancements when it comes to anti-theft technology. Although this tech is standard in most cars manufactured this century, car models from before this time generally lack the extra security. Whether you own a car from the ’90s or are just looking to add an extra layer of protection to your vehicle, try out any of the following gadgets to help you outsmart auto thieves.

 car-tech-to-outsmart-auto-thieves

 

Use a tracking device

If your car is ever stolen, a GPS or Bluetooth tracker can help you find its location and recover your car. You can check the location of your car via a smartphone, and some trackers even send alerts to your phone if your car is on the move.

GPS trackers are relatively affordable, with simple ones costing around $20 and more advanced ones costing $100 and up. Something as simple as the Tile has a range of options for any budget and can easily be hidden under a seat or in your glove box. Other GPS trackers may install directly into your car’s OBD port and can track mileage, fuel levels and even your vehicle’s maintenance needs.

Install a kill switch

One effective way to prevent a thief from driving away with your vehicle is to make sure that they can’t drive away at all. You can do this by installing a hidden kill switch in your car. A kill switch cuts the flow of electricity from your ignition so that your vehicle won’t start. With your car disabled, a thief won’t be able to hotwire your car and drive off.

If you plan on using a kill switch, it’s best to have an auto technician install it so you don’t damage your car. You can easily purchase a kill switch for around $10 and bring it to a mechanic to get it installed.

Try a baby monitor

An unexpected gadget that can alert you to car theft is a baby monitor. By placing one in your car, you’ll be able to hear if someone is breaking into your car or starting the engine. Some high-tech baby monitors even include cameras, which are helpful for keeping an eye on your car in case someone gets in.

How to prevent car theft: 6 tips to keep your car safe

When it comes to protecting your car from auto theft, prioritizing common sense and caution over convenience may be the secret to longer car ownership. Use the following safety tips to make sure your car stays safe from potential carjackers and thieves.

 tips-to-prevent-your-car-from-being-snatched

 

Don’t leave your car running and unattended

Although it may be tempting to leave your car running while you quickly run back into the house, those few moments of convenience could cost you. With your keys in the ignition, potential thieves will see a window of opportunity and take advantage of it.

Additionally, if you’re ever parking or reversing and hear a strange noise, turn your car off and take your keys with you before getting out to investigate. This could be a potential ruse by carjackers waiting to lure you out of your vehicle, and if you leave the engine running, you’ll be playing straight into their trap.

Always keep your car secure

We’ve all had that moment of panic when you aren’t sure if you locked your car. Sometimes it happens as you’re walking away from the parking lot and other times the realization hits after you’ve been away from your car for hours. It’s important to always keep your car locked, whether it’s parked in your own driveway or a crowded parking lot.

Although locking your car is a fairly simple task, it’s also easy to forget, so spend an extra minute double-checking that your car is secure. You never want to come back to an empty space where your car used to be, and an extra moment of caution may just be the thing to prevent that.

Never keep a spare key in your car

Getting locked out of your car is incredibly inconvenient, but getting your car stolen is even worse. Some people may keep a spare key in their glove box, but it’s also an easy way for thieves to make off with your vehicle. It’s best practice to always take your keys with you whenever you leave the car, so remember to make this a habit.

Park in well-lit and well-trafficked locations

Whether you’re driving in the evening or parking your car somewhere for a long time, it’s crucial that you always try to park in a well-lit and well-trafficked area. Potential carjackers prefer the cover of darkness if they plan to make a move on your vehicle, but parking near a bright streetlight with other passersby can be enough to deter them.

Of course, if you’re ever in a carjacking situation, it’s important to remember that your safety comes first. If someone ever threatens you in an attempt to steal your car, remember that you can more easily replace a vehicle than you can your life.

Hide or remove valuables

If thieves can see valuable items inside your vehicle, your car becomes a much more attractive target. Whenever you travel with valuables in your car, make sure to take them with you before leaving your vehicle. If it’s not convenient to leave your valuables, at least try hiding them in the trunk, in the glove box or under a seat where they can’t easily be seen.

Keep your car title at home

Although a 2020 survey by The Zebra found that about 90% of people know what a car title is, over 40% didn’t correctly know what to do with it. Some people may mistake the car title to be similar to the registration and think that it should be kept with your vehicle, but this isn’t the case.

Leaving your car title in your vehicle is a grave mistake. Your car title is a document that shows proof of ownership of the car, and if a car thief has access to this, they can easily get away with a stolen car. It’s best to keep your car title at home or in another secure place. This way, if your car is stolen, you can produce the car title to prove that you own it.

With car thefts on the rise across the nation, it’s helpful to be aware of which cars are commonly targeted by thieves. Use this list of the most stolen cars in America to see if your vehicle has a higher risk of being stolen. Don’t forget to try out our common sense tips or affordable tech ideas for preventing auto theft.

Lastly, it’s important to consider updating your car insurance policy if you don’t currently have comprehensive coverage. A comprehensive auto policy is the only level of coverage that will cover a stolen vehicle, so make sure you’re protected in case it happens to you.

 

Source: NICB

 

Methodology
The Zebra analyzed data from NICB Hot Wheels Reports from 2010 to 2020 to determine the rankings for the most frequently stolen cars of the past decade. Only vehicles that made the top 10 list from each year and their theft amounts were included in this study. To find the most stolen cars in each state, The Zebra used data from the latest Hot Wheels Report to report up-to-date information.

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