According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a vehicle is stolen every 45 seconds in the United States. That means that nearly one million vehicles are stolen each year, costing Americans losses of over $4 billion a year.
Vehicle thefts have been trending downward in the 25 years since they peaked at 1.7 million in 1991, falling 46 percent to 765,484 in 2016, according to the FBI. The National Insurance Crime Bureau credits law enforcement efforts, along with the creation of specific antitheft programs, technology and insurance company-supported organizations such as the NICB for contributing to the theft reduction. However, there was an uptick in the number of vehicles stolen in 2015 and 2016, up by 3.8 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively. In addition, preliminary data from the FBI show that in the first half of 2017, vehicle thefts increased by another 4.1 percent.
Little Rock was number 38 in the nation for car theft in 2017. There were a total of 3,171 thefts.
The most stolen across the nation was the Honda Civic, followed closely by the Honda Accord. Those cars rank on Arkansas’ list, but not at the top. It’s not surprising that in Arkansas, many of the most commonly stolen cars are pickups. Full-sized pickups account for over a quarter of all registered cars in Arkansas.
In 2017, the most stolen car model in Arkansas was a 2000 full-size Chevrolet Pickup. The second most stolen car was a 2005 Ford Pickup. Pickups also rank #3 (the 200 GMC Pickup) and #5 (the 2004 Dodge pickup). The 1994 Honda Accord comes in #4. With the 2016 Nissan Altima, the 2017 Toyota Camry and the 200 Honda Civic coming in at #6-8 respectively. The 2006 Chevy Impala and the 2000 Ford Mustang close out the top 10 as #9-10.
To avoid car theft, the NCIB recommends all motorists adhere to four “layers of protection” to help guard against vehicle theft.
- The first layer is common sense: Remove your keys from the ignition when you get out of your car. Lock your car doors and keep your windows closed. You should also try to park in a well-lit, and populated area.
- Use a visible or audible antitheft device. Thieves are less likely to steal cars with alarms, steering wheel or brake locks, VIN etching, theft deterrent decals and other warning devices.
- Install an immobilizing device. Installing an ignition kill switch or starter, ignition and fuel pump disablers and devices that require wireless ignition authorization deter thefts, who will move on to easier targets.
- Install a tracking device. Services like LoJack and OnStar require monthly fees and pricey setups, but they can be invaluable if your car is stolen.
The NICB, which compiles statistics for the insurance industry, generates its annual list by analyzing an FBI database that police around the country use to report stolen vehicles.
The NCIB bases its rankings on vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center for each of the nation’s metropolitan areas, which often include areas larger than the cities for which they are named. Because of the survey’s per-capita population-based methodology, a metropolitan area having a smaller population and a moderate number of thefts is often ranked higher in the NICB’s Hot List than an area that suffers more vehicle thefts per year but has a denser population.