When we think about stolen cars, often we think of fancy sports cars or some other high-end vehicle. However, the truth is that the most stolen vehicles are often those that can be taken apart in “chop shops.”
Commonly driven cars, with parts that others can use, offer a way for thieves to make a good amount of money. Rather than trying to sell the car as a whole (which is done with the high-end cars), older models of popular brands can be sold piece by piece. This reduces the chance of recovery, as well as providing a relatively easy way to make more cash overall.
According to the National Crime Information Center, the top 10 vehicles stolen in the United States for the year 2011 were:
- 1994 Honda Accord (midsize)
- 1998 Honda Civic (compact)
- 2006 Ford F-150
- 1991 Toyota Camry (midsize)
- 2000 Dodge Caravan
- 1994 Acura Integra (compact)
- 1999 Chevrolet Silverado
- 2004 Dodge Ram
- 2002 Ford Explorer
- 1994 Nissan Sentra (compact)
What strikes me is that many of these cars are not what you would consider “desirable.” They are older; the newest vehicle on the list was still five years old in 2011. I also found it interesting that half the vehicles on the list are trucks, minivans, or SUVs. It looks like “family” cars are in demand by car thieves. It also looks like midsize and compact cars are also preferred.
Reduce the Chances of Auto Theft
You don’t have to buy a new car  in order to avoid theft, though. You can take certain precautions to reduce the chances that your car will be stolen.
Your first defense can be to carefully mark your car. Etchings of your VIN in the window, and on other parts of the car, or on after-market items like a nice stereo, can make it harder for chop shops to sell your car parts. It can also help law enforcement officials recover your vehicle.
It can also help to use an anti-theft device, such as LoJack, or some kind of GPS tracker. Even a device like The Club can be a deterrent in some cases. If you have a visible indication that your car is being tracked, and that it is equipped with anti-theft measures, some thieves will decide that it isn’t worth the risk. You can avoid having your car stolen, as well as increase the chances that you will get it back if it is stolen.
Also, don’t leave the car unattended and running, or with the keys in the ignition. Running into the house for a forgotten item, or making a quick trip into the store or bank can provide just the chance for thieves. You can also lock your doors to slow thieves down. Locked doors may not deter thieves intent on breaking in to steal something from inside the car, though. Make sure you keep valuables out of sight.
There is no way to guarantee that your car won’t be stolen, but you can at least take steps to prevent its theft.
(Photo: The Javelina )