NICB Says Auto Theft Down for 2018, Lists Most-stolen Models

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
nicb says auto theft down for 2018 lists most stolen models

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released its annual Hot Wheels report this month. The good news is that auto thefts declined in 2018, according to the FBI.

The bad news? NICB is still doing a running tally of all the rides ripped away from their owners, putting the 2000 model-year Honda Civic on top. It was followed closely by the 1997 Honda Accord. Fortunately, the NICB also kept track of the 2018 model year specifically, proving that the nation’s most-stolen automobiles continue to be the ones that sell the best.

With overall thefts dropping by 3 percent in 2018, resuming the downward trend we’ve become accustomed to, those old Hondas could retain their title for years until society finally breaks down. In fact, their inclusion helps to illustrate just how little car crime there is now vs 20 years ago. Both the vintage Accord and Civic models peaked with over 5,000 reported thefts for a single model year. For MY2018, the leader was “GMC Pickup (Full Size)” — a category that includes every Sierra variant General Motors manufactures. But only 1,170 units were swiped last year.

As car thefts are typically crimes of opportunity, the rest of the 2018 list is about what you’d expect. These are all popular models you wouldn’t be surprised to see parked outside of a garage:

GMC Pickup (Full Size) — 1,170 Stolen

Ford Pickup (Full Size) — 1,017 Stolen

Toyota Camry — 976 Stolen

Nissan Altima — 912 Stolen

Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) — 790 Stolen

Hyundai Elantra — 775 Stolen

Ford Transit — 723 Stolen

Dodge Charger — 719 Stolen

Toyota Corolla — 699 Stolen

Chevrolet Malibu — 698 Stolen

There’s plenty of overlap with the Highway Loss Data Institute’s more-focused list of stolen vehicles from earlier this year, with a few notable differences. There aren’t any models from premium brands in the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s tally, and the list also includes the Ford Transit, a model we highly recommend for thieves. It’s great for fast loading, whether you’re wrapping up a home invasion or pulling an all-nighter at a warehouse you’ve broken into. Yet also makes a decent work vehicle, if you ever decide to go straight.

The NICB makes some generic recommendations on how to keep your vehicle safer that are mostly worth heeding. As with home defense, it suggests “layers of protection.” You basically want to make your car as unappetizing to thieves as possible while continuing to add minor annoyances. If nabbing your ride takes longer or makes more noise than the vehicle next to you, odds are good it’ll be the one taken by lawbreakers.

VIN etching and immobilizers probably aren’t something everyone needs, especially if parking in a well lit area with the doors locked keeps the car from being stolen in the first place. But they’re on the NICB’s list of safety recommendations, if you’re interested, and worth consideration if you’re concerned with the security of your particular parking locale.

[Image: General Motors]

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4 of 22 comments
  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Nov 26, 2019

    Thankful that my old Legend is now getting so old that the demand for parts is less. For a while Hondas of its vintage were almost guaranteed to be stolen eventually. It spends most of its time in a garage, but does end up at a park-and-ride all day once in a while.

  • Land Ark Land Ark on Nov 27, 2019

    My old car used to lock itself after a few seconds which was a great feature - you had to turn the feature on so if you didn't want it to, it wouldn't. My new car doesn't have the option and at least once I forgot to lock it in the street in front of my house because I got so accustomed to not having to think about it. I realized the next morning that it wasn't locked and then noticed my prescription sunglasses were gone. I can't even be mad at the thief, if I had managed to remember to lock the car no one would have gotten in. I now have the car's app turned on all the time because it reminds me the doors are unlocked, which is kind of annoying when I am washing it or working on it, but I just can't be trusted to remember.

  • Mncarguy I remember when the Golf came out and all the car magazines raved about it. I bought an early one in the mid level trim, brown with a beige vinyl interior and a stick. I must have blocked out a lot about that car, because the only thing I remember is one day with my wife and infant in the car, the brakes went out! I could use the parking brake and made it home. There must have been other issues (beside an awful dealer who felt like they were doing you a favor even letting you come in for service) because I swore I'd never buy a VW again. I did get a new Beetle and later a Passat. That's another story!
  • Oberkanone The Chrysler - Plymouth - Dodge Neon's racing successes - SCCA and elsewhere ( racing.
  • Kwik_Shift My brother inherited his work travel 2013 Ford Escape 1.6L EcoBoost to be replaced with a 2019. It is now used as a beater vehicle primarily to take my mother out for shopping/appts, etc. Just right seat height for her to get in and out of.Right now it has 420,000 (HWY) kms still on original engine/turbo/transmission. Impressive, but doesn't mean I'd intentionally buy any Ford EB combination vehicle. I've heard lots of bad things as well.
  • Analoggrotto You forgot something.
  • MKizzy We can pretty much agree at this point that all Ford ecoboost engines regardless of displacement are of trash quality.