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Hot Wheels Report: Car Thieves Target Older Hondas

By: Ryan Gallagher August 30, 2017
Older-model Hondas—like this 1997 Accord—were the most-frequently stolen vehicles in the U.S. last year, according to national crime statistics.

Each year the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) releases a Hot Wheels report. And while one might wish the report detailed the coolest and fastest plastic racecars, the NICB’s report deals in fact with the 10 most-stolen vehicles in the United States from 2016.

Data from 2016 was collected from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and released earlier this month. The release came during an important time of year as the summer season ranks highest when it comes to the number of cars stolen.

Older Honda Accord and Civic models are the top two most-stolen cars for the second straight year, according to both 2015 and 2016 data. The Accord topped the charts, with 7,527 vehicles from model year 1997 stolen in 2016. Crime statistics show older cars are generally more susceptible to theft than newer vehicles with updated security features. In comparison, only 493 model Accords of model year 2016 were stolen in the same year.

Model year 2015-2016 Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry vehicles have also been some of the most-stolen new cars in the last two years, with more than 4,000 stolen over that span.

This is no cheap crime. Vehicle thefts cost consumers $5 billion in losses in 2015.

To counter thieves’ efforts, newer cars are coming equipped with smart keys. These new keys can detect a signal from an invalid key and will trigger an alarm system or even disable the car’s engine. With this new technology, a criminal who enters the car without a valid key will not be able to drive away.

However, dated technology doesn’t deserve total blame when it comes to vehicle theft. Aside from criminals themselves, complacent drivers are responsible for nearly half of all car thefts, according to an NHTSA report.  These crimes occur when drivers fail to take minor precautions, like leaving their valuables or keys inside their vehicles in plain sight.

Hopefully awareness of these statistics, along with some common-sense practices, will lower numbers for next year’s Hot Wheels report.

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