By on January 30, 2018

Chevrolet C10

You probably never thought you’d see the day when you could look into the eyes of your child and tell them, in your most comforting tone, “Fear not, my dear sweet offspring, the dark clouds that once covered our great nation are breaking. Tailgate thefts have declined slightly this year and we can now see light at the end of the tunnel.”

However, as unbelievable as it sounds, that time has finally come. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), reports of insured tailgate thefts have stabilized since 2014. In fact, such crimes actually decreased by around 5 percent in 2017.  

Unfortunately, truck owners cannot let their guard down entirely. So long that there is money in it, automotive crime will always be an issue.

“The incentive for tailgate thefts is consistent with other thefts; the cost to replace an item legitimately far outweighs the risk to acquiring one by stealing it,” the NICB explained. “With new tailgates retailing around $1,300, with even higher costs for some variants, the demand contributes to a thriving underground market for vehicle parts — a market fed with parts removed from stolen vehicles.”

Tailgate theft stats 2017

You likelihood of becoming a victim of this oddly specific crime varies wildly by where you keep your vehicle parked, however. Over the last two years, Texas had the most tailgate theft claims (with 1,360 reported incidents). It was followed by California (with 1,039). While Florida, Arizona, and Nevada also saw an above-average risk, the Golden and Lone Star States encompassed the vast majority of reported incidents — more than their elevated populations could account for.

Nevada saw a major spike in tailgate-related crime, with a 245 percent increase of thefts in 2016-2017 against 2014-2016. However, incidents still trended downward on a national scale. The NICB attributes the overall decline to vehicles now have locking tailgates as standard kit. It also suggests owners of older models purchase tailgate locks to make their vehicles less attractive to opportunistic thieves.

[Image: NICB]

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24 Comments on “Incredible News: Report Shows Slight Decline in Tailgate Thefts...”


  • avatar
    Dilrod

    I suppose those bright shiny “KING RANCH” or “PLATINUM” tailgates are coveted items on the newer Fords.

    I suppose all trim lines suffer some damage. Is there a black market for these, or is it mostly owners looking for a cheap upgrade?

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    Honestly, I didn’t know this was still a thing. I recall when trucks frequently didn’t come with tailgates, but I haven’t seen a newish truck without one in years.

    I’m sure parts theft is a thing though. I’ve just been fortunate not to live in a high auto theft area.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Wow, in all my years (coming up on 60), I’ve never seen a pickup bought without a tailgate. Without a bumper? Plenty.

      The only reason not to get a tailgate (way back) would be if you were going to use a slide-in camper. But I’ve never seen one.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Yeah, I downloaded that picture and zoomed in. I love those old school silver painted step bumpers, from my childhood – you don’t see them anymore, since people restoring them or hot rodding them pitch the step bumpers. This one is from the old Bruner Chevrolet (I remember them) in Denton, Texas.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    Tailgates thefts still happen around here. Another thing that happens is 3rd seat theft at DisneyLand in their massive parking lots. A family leaves here in Utah for a day at the theme park-while hey are enjoying themselves the 3rd seat is stolen out of their Suburban. They cannot come back to Utah because they need the seat. Many “resales” on CraigList for these seats.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    On my previous Truck (’95 F-150 XLT) I added a McGard tailgate lock, which was a collar that blocked the ability to unhook the tailgate on the passenger side. There was an existing hole in the side of the tailgate, and the lock came with a keyed bolt and key, along with a rivnut that fit in the hole (for the bolt), then installed with the bolt and key (IIRC).

    On my ’13 Tacoma I have a McGard lock, but it’s basically a plastic jacketed, glorified hose clamp with a keyed screw and matching key, that wraps around the pivot on the tailgate. Probably not as secure, but makes it more trouble to steal.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    In my greasy old neighbourhood I would routinely hear criminal geniuses trying every door/latch/tailgate on every car along the street. One would walk on the grass while another would be walking down the street, clacking every latch they could find. The local lore was that you don’t confront them or one night they’ll trash your car: smashed lights; flat tires; windows out.

    • 0 avatar

      I take it this was not the prime suspect state of Texas, or they’d be shot.

      • 0 avatar
        Tele Vision

        It was in the up-and-coming-and-still-coming-up-ten-years-later neighbourhood of Ramsay in Calgary, Alberta, Canadia. I tried to keep a loaded pellet rifle by the front door but my then-wife was quite worried about being an accessory to murder and put the kibosh on that. All I wanted to do was quietly pelt one of them in the ass from a few houses away but to no avail. That marriage went the same way as that plan. Of the two I wish I’d stuck with the plan.

  • avatar
    Jeremiah Mckenna

    It is a simple fix. Simply put an adjustable hose clamp around the hinge with the removal slot in it and turn the screw towards the bed so it is hard to remove the clamp. A thief will open the gate and try to remove it. When he notices there is a lot of resistance, he will leave it alone because it isn’t worth trying to figure out how to remove the clamp. I have had one on every one of my trucks.

    Or you can get a locking tail gate handle/latch system. The only thing is, it costs a few dollars more than a simple hose clamp, and a lot of times you have to find the key to open the gate, and a lot of times people forget to lock the handle.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    My tailgate can’t be removed (2011 Avalanche).

    • 0 avatar
      Jeremiah Mckenna

      The F it can’t. I’ll take it off in a few seconds.

      Here’s a quick video.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Page 52, Section 2-16.

        https://my.chevrolet.com/content/dam/gmownercenter/gmna/dynamic/manuals/2011/chevrolet/avalanche/2011_chevrolet_avalanche_owners.pdf

        Yes, where there is a will there is a way. My 2002 Avalanche it came right out. The 2011 doesn’t just yank out.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Nobody uses pickups for actual truck work anymore. Therefore fewer tailgates get damaged and need replacement to begin with.

  • avatar
    TR4

    I’d assign some of the blame for thefts on the manufacturers who made the tailgate easy to remove in the first place. What’s the point of this? My dear departed ’50 model had the tailgate attached with three bolts at each hinge. I never had the desire to remove it.

  • avatar

    Most important part of this story to me…

    You used a ’68 Chevy C10 Fleetside as the picture. Win.

  • avatar
    George B

    My neighbor across the alley always backs his F-150 in with the tailgate near the house. Hard to steal a tailgate if there’s no room to open it and walking up close to the house to even look at the tailgate is a little risky when the locals are very “polite” in the Heinlein way.


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