Trucks at Work

Vehicle thieves targeting pickups more often

While vehicle thefts in the U.S. overall remain on the downswing, it seems that pickup trucks – unfortunately – remain high on the list of steal; especially 2006 model Ford F-150s.

That’s just one of the factoids to be gleaned from the most recent ranking of “most stolen vehicles” by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

For 2011, the most-stolen vehicles in the nation were:

1994 Honda Accord

1998 Honda Civic

2006 Ford Pickup (Full Size)

1991 Toyota Camry

2000 Dodge Caravan

1994 Acura Integra

1999 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)

2004 Dodge Pickup (Full Size)

2002 Ford Explorer

1994 Nissan Sentra

The 2006 Ford F-150 is a newcomer to the list; indeed, on NICB’s top stolen vehicle list for 2010, Ford’s 1997 model F-150 ranked only as high as fifth place. Now a whole new model is jumping ahead to the number three slot.

Each year, NICB reviews all vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen – without regard to a vehicle's insured status. Simply put, if a vehicle was reported stolen to law enforcement, it is captured in NICB’s annual report.

Still, it’s important to note in all of that that the data compiled for 2011 continues to show a decline in national vehicle theft rates, NICB pointed out.

Indeed, preliminary 2011 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) crime statistics indicate a 3.3% reduction from the 737,142 thefts recorded in 2010 – adding that vehicle thefts have not been this low since 1967.

Still, NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle cautioned that later model vehicles are now being targeted more frequently than in the past – despite advanced in anti-theft technology.

"While overall thefts continue to decline, we are seeing a trend toward increases in the thefts of late model vehicles − ones that are theoretically harder to steal due to sophisticated key code technology,” he said.

“Today's vehicle thieves are typically professional criminals who have figured out how to get the key code for a specific vehicle, have a replacement key made, and steal the vehicle within a matter of days,” Wehrle added. “We are aware of nearly 300 thefts that took place in the first three months of this year in which we believe replacement keys using illegally obtained key codes were used to steal the vehicle.”

He noted, however, that law enforcement, vehicle OEMs, and groups such as NICB are working together to track such illegal key code transactions and stop the thefts or recover the stolen vehicles before they can be resold in the U.S. or shipped out of the country to be sold overseas.

Just one more thing pickup truck owners need to keep an eye on in the days ahead. 

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