September 3, 2015
For many of us, our passion for cars likely originated with the Hot Wheels we used to play with as kids. Not only were those miniature die-cast toy cars our first experience with vehicle ownership, they also paved the way for the deep and abiding love we feel for our cars to this day. Unfortunately, this story isn’t about those Hot Wheels, but rather about the kinds of hot wheels that get stolen by car thieves. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released its list of the ten most stolen auto brands in the U.S. last year. The NICB report is informed by data compiled by law enforcement, including the vehicle makes and models stole in 2014. In the year’s edition of the organization’s annual Hot Wheels report, the Ford F-150 full-sized pickup truck tops the list of 2014 model-year vehicles that were most often stolen (or desired, depending on your perspective). According to the NICB, 964 2014 Ford F-150 pickups were stolen last year. The Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Impala and Nissan Altima round out the top five on the new vehicle portion of the list. In terms of overall thefts, including both new and used cars, the Honda Accord has the dubious distinction of leading the way with 51,290 units stolen. The Accord, in particular, has been a hot ticket item for thieves, having been a perennial top five finisher on the Hot Wheels report every year since the NICB began issuing them in 1995. Another Honda vehicle, the Honda Civic, finished second on this year’s Hot Wheels report with 43,936 stolen last year. According to Frank Scafidi, NICB Director of Public Affairs, car thieves target older model vehicles not because they are more desirable, but rather because it’s more lucrative to break them down into saleable component parts. “The parts cost well more than the cost of the used car,” Scafidi told the Chicago Tribune. Scafidi says that newer vehicles are harder to steal because of anti-theft technology, which has led to a corresponding drop in vehicle thefts for the 2014 model year. He cites the smart key and improved law enforcement technology as the biggest deterrents to hot-wiring thefts in recent years. The states in our union with the most stolen vehicles include Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania. To prevent vehicle theft, the NICB recommends that drivers turn on their audible warning devices (i.e., car alarms) and invest in immobilizing kill-switch technology. Above all, they recommend common sense approaches like locking your car consistently in order to ensure that your vehicle doesn’t make the Hot Wheels list in the future. A downloadable copy of the complete NICB report can be found here.