July is prime summer season, and with rising temperatures comes rising vehicle thefts. This month also marks national Vehicle Theft Prevention Month in the U.S., a safety campaign run by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Why July? With the hot summer weather, vehicle owners are more likely to leave their windows rolled down — an open invitation for thieves, among other reasons.
Every 40.9 seconds a vehicle is stolen in the U.S., according to NHTSA. Not surprisingly, cars are the vehicles that are stolen the most, as these are the most common means of transport.
Here are some more recent statistics on vehicle theft.
Top U.S. cities with the highest vehicle thefts
The top 10 hot spots for vehicle theft, as identified by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) for the year 2018 are:
- Albuquerque, NM
- Anchorage, AK
- Bakersfield, CA
- Pueblo, CO
- Modesto, CA
- Redding, CA
- Stockton-Lodi, CA
- Wichita, KS
- Vallejo-Fairfield, CA
- St. Joseph, MO
Looking at the state level, overall, California, Texas and Florida are the U.S. states with the most vehicle thefts, according to numbers from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Top vehicles stolen
Every year the NCIB also releases its Hot Wheels Report on the top vehicles stolen in the U.S. Here is the last published list from 2017, including make/model and model year.
- Honda Civic (1998)
- Honda Accord (1997)
- Ford Full Size Pickup (2006)
- Chevrolet Full Size Pickup (2004)
- Toyota Camry (2017)
- Nissan Altima (2016)
- Toyota Corolla (2016)
- Dodge Full Size Pickup (2001)
- GMC Full Size Pickup (2017)
- Chevrolet Impala (2008)
In Canada, Ford four-wheel drive pickup trucks topped the list of stolen vehicles for 2018. Here are the top three stolen vehicles for Canada, as reported by the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
- Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD (2007)
- Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD (2006)
- Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD (2005)
Preventing car theft
How do we make sure we don’t become a part of this bleak statistic? There are a number of things you can do to help minimize the risk of vehicle theft.
Tips for keeping your car and valuables safe:
- Don’t leave keys in the ignition.
- Close your windows and lock all doors when you leave the vehicle.
- Park in a well-lit, open area wherever possible. Better yet, try to find parking in a public area with video surveillance.
- Don’t leave your valuables lying around in plain sight. If you must, hide them in the trunk or in the booth of your car. Window tinting can also help block people from seeing what’s in your vehicle.
Technology can help with combating vehicle theft. Consider anti-theft devices, such as a car alarm or a wheel lock, and advertise these security features with a warning label on your car’s window.
If fleet vehicles are equipped with GPS tracking, this can possibly assist in locating your vehicle after it is stolen.
If your car is stolen…
In the event that your vehicle is stolen, NHTSA recommends that you contact police and provide them with vehicle license and insurance information and incident details. Check with your employer as well to confirm in advance the company fleet policy for vehicle theft. NHTSA also recommends calling the insurance provider within 24 hours of the theft to file a claim report.
Summer is road trip and camping time for people across the country, so remember to be vigilant and watch your wheels while you’re having fun.
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