Does Your Vehicle Attract Thieves?

Feb 24, 2023 | Business Insurance

Although vehicles in general are appealing to criminals, new data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) confirms that certain vehicle models are more desirable to thieves than others.

The value of your vehicle to a criminal can be determined by a variety of factors, including the effectiveness of your security systems and the amount of money the thief can obtain for various stolen parts. Look at the NICB statistics below to see if your vehicle is more likely to be targeted by thieves. According to experts, thieves can crawl under cars, trucks, and SUVs and steal a catalytic converter in less than a minute.  Repairs can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau is responsible for tracking thefts reported to insurance companies. According to the report, catalytic converter thefts increased by more than 975% from 2018 to more than 14,000 in 2020. The converters are installed on vehicles to aid in the prevention of air pollution. Since 1975, the federal government has required them on the majority of vehicles. Thieves steal the part because it contains precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium. They either melt the metal or sell the stolen part for a large sum of money.

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According to a new CARFAX list, the type of vehicle you drive may increase your chances of being a victim of theft. According to the NICB’s latest report of the most frequently stolen cars in the United States, the most stolen vehicles in 2022 included the following:

  1. 1985-2021 Ford F-Series pickup trucks
  2. 1989-2020 Honda Accord
  3. 2007-17 Jeep Patriot
  4. 1990-2022 Ford Econoline vans
  5. 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks
  6. 2005-21 Chevrolet Equinox
  7. 1997-2020 Honda CR-V
  8. 1987-2019 Toyota Camry
  9. 2011-17 Chrysler 200
  10. 2001-21 Toyota Prius

Many of the models are probably on the list because they are simple to crawl under. Prius is on the list because a hybrid’s catalytic converter contains more precious metals, which are more valuable.

Tips for preventing car auto theft

1. Secure your doors.

The first step in deterring a thief is to keep your doors locked. It’s a good idea to develop the habit of checking your car doors.

2. Take your keys out of the car.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, never leave your keys in the ignition (NICB). A thief can simply break a window and drive away if your key is in the car. Firestone also advises against leaving your car running, even if you’re just running a quick errand. A running vehicle is an easy target for a thief, especially if it is left unattended or unlocked.

3. Never keep a spare key near your vehicle.

When leaving your car, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends taking your keys with you. Some people keep a spare key under their car or in the glove box in case they get locked out, but thieves know where to look for a spare key. While being locked out of your car is inconvenient, consider the inconvenience of having your car stolen.

4. Shut the windows.

According to the NICB, keep your windows completely closed. A thief can simply reach into your car through an open window and take whatever they can reach before unlocking the door and gaining full access to your vehicle and everything inside.

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5. Always park in well-lit areas.

Avoid parking in poorly lit areas or in places where passers-by cannot see you. Parking under a light and in a well-trafficked area is recommended by Firestone Complete Auto Care, as thieves may be deterred if they know they can easily be seen.

6. Install an audible alarm system as well as an anti-theft device.

If your car did not come with an audible alarm system, the NHTSA recommends installing one and using a visible anti-theft device. If someone tries to enter the vehicle while the alarm is activated, it will make a loud noise, usually the car horn. According to the NHTSA, the unwanted attention attracted by the noise may deter a potential thief. According to Angi, there are numerous car alarms available, but keep in mind that you may need to have a mechanic or alarm technician install it for you — particularly if the installation requires working with the vehicle’s wiring system.

According to the NHTSA, visible devices such as a steering wheel lock, window etching, or the flashing light of an alarm system may be enough to deter a car thief. If they are unsure whether they can get away with the car quietly or are afraid of being caught, Firestone suggests they avoid your vehicle entirely.

7. Install an immobilizer system in your vehicle.

According to the NHTSA, thieves can bypass your ignition by “hotwiring” your car, but you can help prevent this by using a vehicle immobilizer system. Immobilizer systems, according to the NICB, may include smart keys, kill switches, and wireless ignition authentication. They’ll essentially disable the vehicle, making it impossible for a thief to steal it.

8. Set up a tracking system

You should think about installing a tracking system, also known as a vehicle recovery system. (As with the other alarms, you may need to have the device installed by a professional.) When your car is stolen, this tracking system will use wireless and/or GPS technology to send a signal to the police or a monitoring service indicating the location of your vehicle, according to the NICB. This may help the police recover your vehicle more quickly.

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9. Do not leave valuables in your vehicle.

One way to attract a thief is to leave a purse, cell phone, or other valuable item in a prominent location in your vehicle. It’s best to leave anything of value at home, but if you must bring something important, keep it hidden. Firestone also advises putting valuables in the trunk before leaving the house, as some thieves scout parking lots for people moving items to their trunk. They’ll break into the trunk after you’ve left to get whatever you’ve stashed away.

10. Maintain vigilance

According to, when parking your car, you should be aware of your surroundings. If you are concerned about the safety of your vehicle or notice someone loitering around the parking lot, it is best to park elsewhere. Before leaving your car unattended, Firestone recommends double-checking that the windows and doors are closed. 

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