By on October 19, 2021

Car theft has been trending downward over the last couple of years. According to data from the Insurance Information Institute, 2019 represented a 4-percent decline in thefts across the United States vs the previous annum. But things look even better when you zoom out. The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that automotive transgressions have fallen by 64 percent since 1993, mimicking the general trajectory of property and violent crimes within that timeframe.

Unfortunately, crime is back on the rise and vehicle theft is coming along for the ride. Let’s explore the how and why before determining if your personal ride happens to be a preferred target. Then we’ll get into what you can do about it because the latest statistics are pretty disheartening. 

Over the summer, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles notified residents that they might want to consider upping their security game if they didn’t want to see their car stolen or gutted for parts. Yours truly even got a letter in the mail explaining how to make my vehicle a less-appetizing target. Motorcycle thefts had risen by 63 percent in the first six months of 2021 in NYC and statewide vehicle thefts rose 54 percent in 2020 (year-over-year). Early estimates have 2021 being substantially worse.

While I’m sure some of those missing motorcycles were scooped up by the NYPD as part of the city’s heinous “dirt bike” ban, the scope of the problem is obviously much bigger when 572 percent more catalytic converters were cut out of vehicles through the first half of 2021 than all of last year. Car crime is not isolated to the whole vehicle, nor the Big Apple for that matter. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Chicago saw an insane 134-percent increase in vehicle thefts last year (vs 2019) and Washington D.C. jumped up by 50 percent over the same timeframe.

The group has estimated that U.S. vehicle crime surged ahead by at least 9 percent in 2020 (year-over-year), with NICB President and CEO David Glawe suggesting that the national response to the pandemic basically set the table for a surge of criminal malfeasance.

“We have a lot of disenfranchised youth that are unemployed, and outreach programs are shut down or limited due to Covid,” Glawe told CNBC in June. “There is frustration and anger in society. We are also seeing public safety resource limitations and withdrawal of proactive policing due to budget constraints.”

With 2021 already showing that crime might be the only growth market the United States has right now, it’s unlikely that next year’s tally will be much worse. Production constraints, made worse by rampant supply issues, have made vehicles (new and used) substantially more valuable over the last few months. Secondhand hunks of steel are being listed roughly 30 percent higher today than they were in 2020 and thieves have taken notice.

Though not all vehicles have proven to be equally desirable. While they managed to hang in there, America’s most-boosted automobile is no longer a Honda Civic or Accord. Tastes have shifted toward pickups, according to the NICB, and they’re all over the top ten most stolen autos for 2020:

2006 Ford (Full Size) Pickup
2004 Chevrolet (Full Size) Pickup
2000 Honda Civic
1997 Honda Accord
2019 Toyota Camry
2020 Nissan Altima
2005 GMC (Full Size) Pickup
2020 Toyota Corolla
2000 Honda CR-V
2001 Dodge (Full Size) Pickup

Full-sized pickups were already trending among thieves in 2018 and have only gotten more popular since. But we still see the usual lineup of small Japanese products prone to holding their value rounding out the list. Also, don’t let some of those older model years fool you. Stealing a modern car with a keyless entry/push-button start isn’t any harder than nabbing one from two decades ago. You simply need a different set of tools to relay, decode, and spoof the frequency the RF key fob transmits.

For those interested in lowering their odds of becoming a victim, there are loads of obvious things you can do. We would recommend never leaving the keys in your car for any reason and leaving it in places that are well lit. Parking your car in a place that’s more secure than the curb (assuming that’s possible) is also advisable. If you have keyless entry and/or push-button start, you might want to consider keeping the fobs inside of a DIY (or store-bought) Faraday pouch to avoid someone else scooping up the frequency. Just make sure you test it to make sure it’s effective.

But those interested in further stepping up their security game can enter into the world of kill switches, fuel-line cutoffs, tracking systems, immobilizers, and car alarms. While you have to decide what you’re willing to do and (in the case of alarms) put up with, the above can help mitigate your risk of waking up without a vehicle. Alarms are a great deterrent, often scaring off would-be thieves by drawing attention to the car whilst annoying your neighbors. But they can be defeated and are less effective in locales where car alarms are part of the evening ambiance. Installing a hidden kill switch or fuel cutoff adds another layer of protection, though it’s not something everyone can do themselves or would want to deal with on a shared vehicle.

There are cheaper and easier solutions, too. Your author has had good luck with simply swapping wires on the distributor found on vintage vehicles. But that could cause you to soil yourself when you forget and attempt to start the vehicle. Odds are also good that you’re in possession of something more modern. A better solution may be to simply disable the battery if you’re leaving your vehicle unattended for an extended period of time using a quick disconnect. Though my preferred solution is to just yank out any fuse relay the car needs to operate, walking off with it in my pocket, and reinstalling it once I’m ready to use the vehicle again. It’s free, can be accomplished by novices with a modicum of research, and basically foolproof unless you’re dealing with a particularly dedicated and well-prepared thief.

Ultimately, all you really need to do is inconvenience someone that wants to steal your car to a point that they choose another target. There’s no singular way to do that, so it’s probably a good idea to double up and maximize your chances. But anything you can do (including my dirt-bag recommendations) is likely to make a meaningful difference as car thievery comes back into style.

[Image: Daniel Jedzura/Shutterstock]

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103 Comments on “Auto Theft Becomes Fashionable Again, Most Stolen Vehicles of 2020...”


  • avatar
    slavuta

    3 of my cars have the ultimate anti-theft device – the manual transmission

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Around here, catalytic converter theft is a bigger problem than whole-car theft, at least among people who don’t leave their cars idling “tO wArM uP.” It’s also a lot harder to prevent theft of the cat than theft of the whole car. Unfortunately Toyota hybrids are at the top of the list, and I figure it’s just a matter of time before I go out to start my Highlander Hybrid and it’s unexpectedly loud and stinky.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yep, at the hospital my girlfriend works at, at least two of her co-workers have had their catalytic converters ripped off. Worth noting: one had a Jeep Wrangler and the other had a jacked up truck.

      #DarkSideOfRideHeight

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        The local Ram dealer had all of the “cats” stolen from their diesel trucks. That was way back when Ram diesels did not require DEF. Tailgates are a “hot” item as well. The local Ford dealer once lost dozens of tailgates one night.
        Pickups have always been a theft item. There was a time when that was because they did not have the same anti-theft keys as cars.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Go to rockauto.com, right now, and see how many different replacement catalytic converters are available for the vehicles you own, and what the various prices are – be sure to include shipping. Also check amazon.com, especially if you are a Prime member – sometimes there are special deals including shipping. Then you know what you are potentially up against if someone decides to make your converter their own.

      Conclusion: The cost of a replacement catalytic converter ain’t what it used to be, and converter theft doesn’t have to be a tragedy for the vehicle owner.

      If you live in California or some other place which requires a CARB-compliant converter, you might still have a minor tragedy on your hands (but perhaps not a dealer-level tragedy).

      (If you blindly go straight to the dealer for your replacement catalytic converter without evaluating other options, I can’t help you.)

  • avatar

    My impression is that car theft is either legal in California or law is not enforced. In SF it is very likely that your car will be broken in if you park the car on street. It was not the case several years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I know it’s fashionable to whine about California in general, but I looked up car theft stats in the state. Turns out, during 2020, the cops there successfully recovered about 89% of stolen vehicles, so the “the cops ain’t enforcing the law” line doesn’t quite ring true.

      https://www.chp.ca.gov/FieldSupportSectionSite/Documents/2020%20Vehicle%20Theft%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

    • 0 avatar

      Do you have statistics how many thieves were actually prosecuted and end up in jail?

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      California seems to have habitual auto theft problems but it’s not always the top dog. Colorado and New Mexico both saw more per capita car crime in 2020. Numbers are elevated across Western states in general though. It’s actually kind of surprising to see just how much less auto theft took place along the Atlantic coastline.

      Those Pacific states are all looking at 300+ thefts (per 100,000 inhabitants) and the number gradually drops to 63 the closer you get to Maine.

      statista.com/statistics/232588/motor-vehicle-theft-rate-in-the-us-by-state/

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    For the last weeks, the local cops have been hanging around my building. Asked one what’s up, and he said it is an auto theft issue. Asked him if I should be extra careful with my car, but as it turns out, the problem isn’t that cars are getting jacked from my parking lot – it’s that the parking lot has been used as an erstwhile storage area for jacked cars.

    Greaaaat.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @FreedMike – that happens rurally in my neck of the woods. Every once in a while there will be a big bust on some rural property full of stolen vehicles/parts. A couple of local fireman with good paying municipal jobs were busted a few years ago for being part of a theft ring. They were stealing machinery like bobcats, boats, campers, and ATV’s. That news story got little local airtime due to the bad publicity.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    While out and about I usually leave my doors unlocked so they don’t have to break the window. Inside, they’ll find a Covid mask, a pair of sunglasses, a USB cable, and a quarter for Aldi.

    Even in my safe suburban neighborhood, driveway break-ins were fashionable a few years ago. That may be dropping with the advent of doorbell cams.

    Fortunately, my EV lacks a catalytic converter. :)

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Because of technology it’s just far easier to be caught literally red handed for a crime in public.
    Look at the decline in bank robberies, a crime that used to occur weekly in major cities. Because of cameras, marking the bills and exploding cash bags you’re just guaranteed to get busted. Same with deli and bodega stick ups where every store has a camera system. Auto theft had declined over the past 30 years due to vehicles having tracking systems and the parts being marked with the VIN number.
    Back in the 80’s when the full sized C body DeVille and Fleetwood as well as the E body Eldorado were popular the major Cadillac dealer in NYC Potemkin would tack weld the bumpers to the impact absorber mounting plate.

  • avatar
    Margarets Dad

    Well this certainly is a lot of … words.

    “There is frustration and anger in society. We are also seeing public safety resource limitations and withdrawal of proactive policing due to budget constraints.” Now that’s odd, the NYPD budget has only gone up this year. But don’t bother researching anything, especially if it gets in the way of parroting right-wing talking points. I guess the police are annoyed that they can’t strangle Black people with impunity anymore, and that makes Matt sad too. Boo-hoo.

    “With 2021 already showing that crime might be the only growth market the United States has right now….” Well this sounds like something that could come straight from the maw of that strange orange president we used to have. Keep pushing the maga line, Matt. After the red hats have polished off the Mexicans, gays, and Blacks, the Jews will be next.

    Seriously, is this kind of political crap really necessary for a car blog? You know, Democrats like cars too. But thanks for reminding me not to leave my keys in my car. Never would have occurred to me … lol ….

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Weren’t you espousing some sort of political tripe recently?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Well, it’s been a long wait, but we’ve found an unhinged leftie to go with all the unhinged righties around here.

      #FairnessDoctrine

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Pointing out the reality of a situation shouldn’t be a political act and I get really tired of having to tell commenters with poor reading comprehension that I have been (and remain) an independent voter.

      I should also point out that I didn’t write the part about the NYPD budget. That was a quote NICB’s David Glawe, who was not talking about New York but the country at large. And yet you still managed to make it work for yourself so you could claim I like seeing minorities harmed.

      Maybe thumb through some books intended for new readers and come back here when you feel ready to try again. Just make sure any insane accusations you decide to toss around are grounded in reality or at least funny.

      • 0 avatar
        Margarets Dad

        I mean, you went on and on about New York, thus the NYPD statistic.

        I wonder why you have to tell commenters over and over that you’re “independent.” Maybe it’s because your political opinions are 90% maga BS. “Oh, but I’m independent” is what all right-wing nuts say because they think it makes them freethinking contrarians; it doesn’t work.

        Oh Matt, I’m so proud of you … you received a letter from the NYS DMV! When I read that, it reminded me of the scene from “The Jerk” when Navin Johnson sees his name for the first time in the phone book. He’s been published! And Matt, the DMV knows who you are now! What a star.

        • 0 avatar
          IH_Fever

          Get on a car site to moan about political content while espousing nothing but political content…Bless your heart….

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “Maybe it’s because your political opinions are 90% maga BS”

          Dude, we don’t know you so unless you say something rational we will assume its 100% BS.

          “Posky’s posts mostly consist of political content.”

          You know that because… you went through the archives and gathered data to establish a mean of what you deem political commentary?

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Who need statistics? Jane Psaki is the reference. If she said that cargo ships are waiting because Joe Biden has made a great economy and people buying a lot of stuff… it means this is what it is.

    • 0 avatar

      Dear Dad,

      Did you take your meds today?

      Yours truly, Margaret

      P.S. When you see orange men call 911.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    This is what happens when BLM wants to defund the police. Police presence is reduced and now cops don’t want to get in confrontations because God forbid they may arrest a black person. Cops are the best parts of our country. Not the mobs that riot.

    My anti theft measures are my fantastic Glock 19 and a older Smith & Wesson real thing. Fully licensed to carry. Going to a gun show next week. Thank-you God for America.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The problem isn’t “too many cops”. Just too many bad cops with no way to fix that with the rigged, backwards system we have.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Are you sure you meant “arresting” a black person? Yeah God Forbid.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      God, I love the smell of gun nuttery in the morning.

      • 0 avatar
        IH_Fever

        Yeah, seems a little nutty, but when you realize with our liberal DA’s and police chiefs these days, it’s the only solution that guarantees a 0% chance of repeat offense :)

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          What, car theft is a capital offense now?

          What’s our man gonna do here…sit in his car, strapped, waiting for the thieves to show so he can shoot them?

          Hope he brought some snacks.

          I get the idea that some people feel the need to be armed to protect themselves, but the idea that being armed is the best way to fight crime is…wack. Sorry, it is.

          • 0 avatar
            IH_Fever

            Comments like his are made tongue in cheek by people who are frustrated by the rampant crime being dealt with daily. Ol boy ain’t going to do anything. You knew that and simply wanted to make your gun nut comment as part of your daily pot stirring. Either way, a dead thief is a good thief. :)

          • 0 avatar
            pmirp1

            FreedMike, I have no felony ever on my record. Have never dealt drugs. I am of legal age and mind. I go to gun range at least couple times a month.

            In Georgia if you pass those rules you are eligible to carry. I carry loaded, never used.

            In Georgia if one feels threatened whether defense of your habitation (home) or property other than habitation (meaning car for example) of mine or a loved one, I can use deadly force.

            If someone tries to steal my vehicle, you bet my Glock will not just be for show.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            If you’re frustrated with rampant crime, I think the best thing to do is vote. If you want to throw a local politician out of a job, nothing does the trick like high crime rates (or, in Chicago, poor snow removal…ask Jane Byrne).

            Buying guns isn’t going to do any good, as evidenced by the fact that guns are being bought at a record rate and crime is still going up.

            Common sense tells me that having more guns in circulation is actually a boon for the crooks – there will be more to steal, and higher supply means cheaper prices.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @pmirp:

            One law-abiding citizen to another…sorry, being armed isn’t going to do jack crap to protect your car from a car thief. They’re going to show up at 3 am, while you’re asleep, and they’re going to be gone before you know it. Your Glock is going to be about as useful as a vibrator.

            I don’t quibble with the idea that people have the right to be armed. I do quibble with the RATIONALE that many people have. And – again, sorry – that rationale doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There are literally hundreds of millions of weapons out there, and that plays right into the hands of the crooks you want to protect yourself from – the cops can’t enforce gun laws because there are just too many of them out there, and the high supply means cheaper prices for the crooks.

            Just food for thought.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @FreedMike – Yup. The original “Big Lie’. Firearms aren’t all that effective at reducing crime or improving personal protection. It’s just a dangerous placebo. If guns made a place safe and secure the USA would have the lowest crime and murder rates on the planet.

            @pmirp1 – so you go to the gun range a few times per month? LOL
            Military statistics tend to show that fatalities are more likely to occur to new troops.

            Why?

            Unless you’ve been in a life or death situation one doesn’t know their own personal response. That’s typically “flight, fight or freeze”. Training helps but you need to be stressed to the max to see how you react.

            Why do these duds have a Dirty Harry complex?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @Lou:

            The “Big Lie” is a marketing line coined by the gun manufacturers. They’re selling firearms the same way other companies sell butter or soda pop. And they’ve paid off politicians to introduce a political angle to it. How many times did we hear “Obama is coming for your guns” before he didn’t? Scores. And gun sales soared. Same will be true of Biden.

            In fact, if I’m not mistaken, the last president that actually introduced any kind of limits on gun rights was…Trump (the bump stock ban).

            Don Draper would light up a Lucky Strike and nod in respect to these guys.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @pmirp: how many cars would have to be stolen to equal the number of lives destroyed by white collar activities like Enron, Bernie Madoff, the Savings & Loan ‘scandal’ or the 2008 mortgage/financial crisis?

      Yet you advocate ‘shooting someone’ for attempted car theft?

      And just how well is increased firearm ownership working in the USA since Heller? Seems that it is not, statistically.

      Since circa 1980 and in particular since 9-11 the individual rights of Americans has declined significantly in comparison to the individual rights of citizens of other 1st world nations. With the exceptions of firearm ownership/possession and in some stats COVID vaccination/requirements.

      American corporations/employers are allowed to infringe on the privacy of their applicants/employees to a degree largely unheard of in other nations.

      Privacy rights of Americans are infringed upon regularly in the name of ‘national security’.

      At the same time all indicators are that the quality of life, life expectancy, infant mortality, social mobility and crime rates in the USA have faired poorly in the USA in comparison to other nations.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @Arthur:

        I think you’re on the right track when it comes to things like privacy infringements. People don’t feel like they’re in control of their own destiny and are looking for something to make them feel powerful. Combine that with a VERY high level of mistrust in government, and it makes sense that many disaffected people would see gun ownership as self-preservation.

        I think the real answer to these problems is simple: vote. The government will deal with all these privacy infringements if the people demand they do so. Instead, we get distractions like “the gun debate”. And, ironically, the same political faction that wants MOAR GUNS also wants to make voting harder to do. Makes you wonder what their endgame is.

    • 0 avatar
      ravenuer

      pmrip1: Suppose you’re sound asleep when some schmuck quietly swipes your car or cat. What’s your Glock or Smith gonna do when you wake up in the morning and see lots of air where your car used to be?

      • 0 avatar
        pmirp1

        ravenuer,
        I live in a gated community in Atlanta. Suppose they get through the gates, I have a Chihuahua and a mix Lab/pit bull. The Chihuahua is way noisier and the mixed lab is very loving unless he feels someone he doesn’t know is around. This is in addition to cameras outside (ADT suuplied). My toys are in garage (Mustang GT premium and Corvette Stingray). They get past those, I have my wife’s father’s Texan gun collection (antiques) in addition to my current weapons to hold them at bay, I guarantee. In our beach house/condo on barrier island off Savannah Georgia, most people know each other. Dogs are still with us. Cars are outside, theoretically someone could steal and we be unaware. Not much I can do about that. But our neighborhood is tight. During hurricanes no looters come around because they know we don’t call cops.

        Arthur Dailey, America is not safer now because BLM and many cities liberal policies put handcuffs on cops. Crime is rising in big liberal places like San Fran and Seattle and Chicago and New York because cops feel if they do their job, then someone catches them on video and mayors don’t stand behind cops. In San Fran Walgreen is closing shop because copy don’t stop people from stealing since there is nothing in law for stuff less than $900 ~ to do with these people. The wrongs of Enrons don’t make it such that we need to close eyes on wrongs of people stealing cars. These car thieves constantly kill people. In Atlanta part of Atlanta (Buckhead) wants to separate from liberal mayor policies so that cops can stop crime.

        FreeedMike, yes fear of guns and fear of repercussions stops crime. When people feel there is no penalty for them stealing they steal. In Saudi Arabia they cut arms if you steal. Robberies rarely happen. In America, we need to be much much strong on enforcement. Instead, mayors in liberal towns handcuff cops, and want to defund them, then crime rises. THINK ABOUT THAT. In my island off Georgia coast crime is virtually non existent even though it is close to Savannah, because we don’t kid around.

        Lou_BC, firearms are a deterrent, absolutely. You don’t know about me and my background. Suffice it to say, I am comfortable with guns, have been around them all my life. Fear is the best tool in crime control. No fear of repercussion means stealing stuff, like it happens in liberal towns. But you are the type that don’t understand that. You can’t stand and defend what’s yours, otherwise you would not belittle gun ownership.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “firearms are a deterrent, absolutely”

          Statistically, no.

          Fear just means serious criminals approach crime more violently.

          Saudi Arabia doesn’t have a mass gun problem.

          “You can’t stand and defend what’s yours, otherwise you would not belittle gun ownership”

          LOL. I’m not going to shoot someone because they are stealing something out of my yard. That’s pathetic.

          I’m not belittling gun ownership, just internet Dirty Harry’s .

          “But you are the type that don’t understand that”
          On the subject of “You don’t know about me and my background.”

          You live in a gated community and have guns for when the baddies come. I read your comments and see the only one living in fear is you.

          • 0 avatar
            pmirp1

            Lou_BC: “LOL. I’m not going to shoot someone because they are stealing something out of my yard.”

            Exactly what I said, you are not the type to defend what’s yours. Thank God America has men defending this blessed land.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “Exactly what I said, you are not the type to defend what’s yours.”

            @CHIMP!

            Wow, just wow. You expect me to murder someone just because they want to steal something? Oh. Yeah, I guess that’s exactly what you expect.

            I look at the same way that Canadian law looks at it. I’m allowed to use a higher level of force than the force I encounter when in fear of one’s life or that of one’s family. I can defend life with lethal force but not an object.
            That’s pretty much the law in most countries. A quick google indicates that most states in the USA also follow that same doctrine.

            But hey, keep a supply of depends handy. You give the impression that you wet yourself alot. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot there Tex!

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “…yes fear of guns and fear of repercussions stops crime.”

          Well, then, since we have more guns than ever before, and we have more people incarcerated than ever before, crime should be down.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Do you believe an army is going to break into your gated community to steal your Mustang GT? Kind of sounds like it.

          I live two miles from downtown Seattle, on a city street. No gates. The only crime that has happened to me since I moved here is that some lowlife stole my bike out of my open garage because my son left the door open by mistake. There are no armies coming for me or my stuff, and I know that if I were to have guns in the house they would be statistically far more likely to hurt my children—even if I took all recommended precautions with them—than any thieves.

          I’ve lived in big cities my whole life, worked in bad neighborhoods for several years, and never had one situation, ever, where I think carrying a gun would have made me safer. That includes having had a knife pulled on me while driving a bus (my responsive weapon was my wits; I talked him off the bus) and having been surrounded by wannabe thieves who planned to mug me at 2 a.m. (I saw an opening and ran away).

        • 0 avatar
          SoCalMikester

          on a barrier island? id be more worried about sea level rise

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @SoCalMikester – “on a barrier island?”

            That’s to keep the occupants in wheelchairs and with walkers from accidentally rolling into the water.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @Pmirp: Every one of your statements is objectively incorrect. And largely demonstrate why the USA is going downhill.

          How many people are killed by car thieves, in comparison to those killed accidently by handguns legally owned in homes? Or by suicide by handgun? Please demonstrate how BLM has increased crime rates across the USA.

          Fear of guns and repercussions do not deter crime. Otherwise rising incarceration rates and gun ownership would decrease crime rates. Instead they increase it. America would be the safest 1st world nation if what you said was true. It patently is not.

          Firearms do not deter crime. The number of crimes stopped by a civilian with a firearm is miniscule. Again if firearm possession/ownership equaled decreased crime rates the USA would be among the nations with the lowest crime rates. It is not.

          Unfortunately opinions based on misinformation, fears and biases in the minds of a significant portion of Americans ‘trump’ facts.

  • avatar
    wolfwagen

    Does anybody remember this?:

    https://www.ravelco.com/

    As for catalytic converter thefts, there are a couple of systems out there. IIRC there was one for Toyotas that had a thick plate held on by 16-20 security bolts

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      So ravelco prevents a future theft by stealing from me up front? Kidding.

      But seriously – how much for just the decals? :-)

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I had one that was similar called the Chapman lock. It was on an older car 70 Mustang, before the era of the standard inside hood release and was mounted under the dash. It locked the hood while also disabling the ignition switch. It worked well for a number of years with no issues.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Alarms are too easy to find, they have to be centrally located and the clicking flasher-relay gives them away. Provided they have a fuel cutoff or immobilizer, or what’s the point?

    I hate alarms and kill switches are crude and cumbersome. So I just install the alarm without the siren, remove its flasher relay and just use the alarm for the kill relay, its remote and set it to self-arm, just walk away. Basically it’s passive, silent but deadly.
    Plus it can be installed just about anywhere.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It’s the ’06 Super Dutys actually, with the F-150 not involved. The ’05 and ’07 Super Dutys are physically identical also, but they’re the last years before transponder keys, just dummies, and highly desired since body parts interchange down to ’99.
    Ford had the 6.0 diesel “dialed in” by ’05 and of course they’re all “pre emissions”.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      @DenverMike

      Agreed, as my neighbour across the street has had his ’06 Super Duty broken into four times in three years. My lowly 2010 F-150 was thankfully ignored.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Interesting (to me only) that ’05 Superdutys aren’t on the list since they’re identical to the ’06.
        The ’07s too but it was a short year and the refreshed ’08 Superdutys arrived early in the year, with the full DEF emissions 6.4 Diesel and transponder key of course.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I think the truck thing has to be dependent on trim level. Nobody seems to want to steal my beat up, base model RCLB Silverado. They’re too busy stealing Crew Cab LT Silverados.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Question: If I wanted to be able to program my own keyless remotes – the ones that require a ‘locksmith or dealer’ to program – what kind of investment are we talking about?

    (I have clear title to the vehicles; didn’t steal them, am just missing the fob. This has come up a few times now and might be worth some $$ to be able to DIY. Replacement fobs are dirt-cheap on amazon or ebay, but are useless if I can’t program them.)

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Remember dealers are themselves criminals. If not, they still tend to employ criminals and I doubt dealers could function without them.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      If it is just a remote, for many you don’t need anything other than the remote. For example on my Fords it is a simple as turning the ignition on and off 8 times and then pushing a button on each remote you want to work with the vehicle. Here is a link to programing for many cars. https://northcoastkeyless.com/free-keyless-entry-remote-fob-programming-instructions/

      Now if you’ve got a car with an integrated key and remote or a keyless entry fob it can be different. For my Fords with the integrated remote the remote automatically programs when you program the key. So if you have 2 working keys it is simply a matter of using programmed key #1 to turn the car on and off, then quickly use programmed key #2 to turn the car on and off. Next insert the unprogrammed key and turn to on, wait a few seconds then turn it off. No the car is programed to accept the key to start the car and the remote is programmed too. Or you can just add a stand alone remote using the old procedure. A similar thing can be done with the keyless start fobs, you just have to find the emergency start place for the remote and do the same process but instead of inserting the key and turning it you place the remote in the emergency spot and operate the push button start.

    • 0 avatar
      Sobro

      Toolguy, some models allow you to program more fobs via the keyless entry radio or RFID. In order to self-program more fobs most manufacturers require the owner to already have two working fobs so that’s not possible for you. Some models allow you to program more fobs via OBDII read/write programs via laptop without having two fobs. Some models allowed the owner to program more fobs until the dealers complained about lost revenue (Ford in 2015).

      So pay the locksmith for the cheap insurance policy.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        What I’m asking is, what would it take for me to get the tool(s) that the locksmith uses to program the fobs that aren’t self-programmable. If it’s $1,500 to get me there, I probably wouldn’t do it. If I can get in the game for a few hundred, I might seriously consider it.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    Reminds me: A guy I went to school with was quite proud of the fact that he was wrenching for a local Kawasaki race team. Lots of talk about titanium con-rods and fancy pistons being sent out from the factory. He was caught by the 5-0 whilst knocking over parked Kawasaki bikes and dragging them into a covered pickup bed using ramps and a bed-mounted winch. It so happened that the factory wouldn’t supply engine blocks – so the team had to steal them. He destroyed all the bars and plastics on these bikes doing so. They’d steal an entire bike just for a fresh engine block for a weekend of racing. He went to jail.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Back in the day, a buddy had the stereo stolen out of his truck. He found out who did the thieving. Some local snot nosed wannabe hoodlums. He phoned around and gathered a group of hairy-assed knuckle daggers. They showed up at their place and politely asked for he stereo back. Of course they denied it. He gave them 24 hours to return it or the next visit wouldn’t be so polite. He had his stereo back the next day. That night they stole it from the dude they sold it to.

  • avatar
    ShoogyBee

    Here in Milwaukee, Kias and Hyundais are being stolen left and right. Visit the Milwaukee subreddit and see for yourself, there’s seemingly a thread about this topic every few days. It’s also been covered extensively by the local media.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    A LoJack alternative is cheap “burner” flip phone in the trunk, under a floor mat, etc. They’re easily tracked and useful as a backup phone.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Only one way to deal with this:

    youtube.com/watch?v=bMtqRir7dco

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    So Matt what is your proposed solution? The USA has the most people imprisoned in the world with over 2 million jailed. It also has the most per capita with 798 per 100,000.

    So the penal system as set up is not working. In fact with many ex-convicts being unable to find jobs due to background checking, etc, they are relegated to a permanent underclass.

    And not prosecuting corporations/people who employ people who are in the country illegally/working illegally takes away possible employment opportunities from the ‘working poor’/newly released.

    Hiring more police officers is not a proven solution. Check the number of police per capita. Or the overall police budgets. Police forces/services in the USA now operate almost as paramilitary forces with armoured vehicles and teams of officers equipped in military gear/weaponry.

    But Americans and many American politicians are totally unwilling to actually review how other democratic first world nations have reduced, eradicated or solved problems such as this which are eroding the USA internally.

    Portugal, Australia, the UK, the Netherlands New Zealand, and yes even Canada can all provide examples of nations who have reduced the social/criminal problems the USA is experiencing.

    As to cart theft we have not locked one of our vehicles when on our street/in our driveway for the past 2 years. With zero issues/problems. In one of the suburbs of Toronto, the 3rd or 4th largest metropolitan area north of the Rio Grande and the area in Canada with the highest overall crime rate.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Got to thinking about this, and I’d imagine that based on the nature of the crime, catching car thieves has to be a real b*tch. I mean, these guys are randomly targeting items to steal that are sitting way out of their owners’ sight, outdoors, and they typically strike when no one’s looking. And then they’re gone. Cops see stolen cars all the time, but they have no way of knowing the car’s stolen because the owner typically hasn’t figured it out yet.

      I’m no expert on being a cop, but given all this, I imagine it’s probably hard as hell to catch the perps. It’d be a crapshoot.

      The answer is probably better anti-theft systems.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      “Check the number of police per capita. Or the overall police budgets. Police forces/services in the USA now operate almost as paramilitary forces with armoured vehicles and teams of officers equipped in military gear/weaponry.”

      Thanks for supporting my old-standing opinion that US is just a militarized police state. Now also without freedom of speech or democracy. But you will come to that.

      And thanks for mentioning the fascistic regime of Australia. We saw everything for what they are. You know, in Australia you are required to vote. Sounds like USSR to me. We also were required to vote and we even were told who to vote for. Surely, Australia is working in that direction too. At least in US they started with latter, but will get to former soon

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Cherry picking, which is a common tactic used in this spread of misinformation.

        I work with an ex-KGB employee (long story how he escaped the former Soviet Union), so have acquired an understanding of their mindset.

        Russia is officially 25th in per capita incarcerations, and in reality much higher. Australia is 97th. Unfortunately the USA is #1.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          ” spread of misinformation”

          Thanks for reading youtube policies in depth. You have reached level-10.

          “in reality much higher” – based on what data? Not that I care. I know 1 fact. Russian prison population is ~500K, many are not Russians.

          What makes US case even worse is that in Russia people get low sentences vs US, on the similar crime. Like Bernie Madoff who got 150years, in Russia would be out in 5. There is though a big problem in Russian criminal justice. only 1% of cases there result in removal of all charges.

          Back to misinformation… this is now heavily an American domain. I am telling you. Communist propaganda in USSR fades here.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    So, I’m looking at this list . . . and I’m scratching my head. These vehicles are all hoopties or hooptie candidates. So, why would someone steal a hooptie instead of, say, a nice 3-series? Well, maybe because, in the neighborhood you (the car thief) live in, hoopties are a lot more prevalent than nice 3-series’.

    My point being that, as with most “street crime” the predominant victims are those who live in the same neighborhood as the criminals.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      No, I think it makes sense – every car on that list sold in very high volumes to begin with, so it would follow that more of them are being stolen.

      I do wonder, though, if certain models have a higher “per capita” theft rate.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        One steals what they are familiar with. If it’s organized crime they tend to target only specific products. You might have a Jeep crew or a F350 crew etc. Police have realized that focusing on known criminals helps. This focus involves walking a fine line between maintaining civil liberties and enforcement. The majority of thefts are carried out by a small percentage of people i.e. professional thieves. IIRC 98% of theft done by same 2%. Violent crime IIRC is 1% does 63% of violent crime.

        I do suspect that in many cases theft will occur because it’s at a “closer to home” level. You have a “sh!t box” to keep on the road you are going to steal something similar. In my town the police hired a computer geek just to plot and track where crime was occuring. They were able to reduce crime by focusing on those areas.

        Police need to work smarter by working on prevention. Most forces are just reactionary forces. They react after the fact.

        “Defund the police” is a wedge issue that gets abused. Crime reduction requires a multifaceted approach. You have to work on societal issues such as poverty and addictions, mental health problems, and organized crime and crimes of convenience. Building a strong sense of community, religious and societal norms also come into play. A blend of traditionally “left” and “right” wing approaches are required. You need law enforcement and punishment but you also need the social, mental, and societal supports.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Exactly there are generally 2 types of car thefts.

          Opportunity: meaning your vehicle is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Often ‘spur of the moment’.

          Targeted: Often by organized groups who steal to order. Either for parts or to ship the entire vehicle overseas. Classic Top Gear had an episode regarding this and high end vehicles being shipped to Albania.

    • 0 avatar
      IH_Fever

      Lots of them sold, and lots of them on the road, so there’s a good market for said hoopties and their parts. Most run of the mill cars stolen around my area end up stripped. A few are dumb kids going on joyrides. The rest are 3/4 ton and larger crew cabs that get used to smash into stores or carry drugs. The F250/350’s for instance are really hot for theft right now. Even thieves don’t want compact trucks haha

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    prisons should exist to punish bad behavior. No gyms, no librarys. Just 12 to 16 hours of hard labor with short breaks to eat and use a toilet followed by a quick shower and then sleep. Rinse and repeat. Once the full debt to society is paid ex cons should have their rights restored. If they commit another felony after prison they get life.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      You can petition your representative to update the 8th Amendment of the US Constitution.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @kcflyer Sir, the ACLU has spoken about that. How come the far-right isn’t able to come up with their version of the ACLU. Fox news doesn’t count.Now I’m gonna pull in riding the ugly train. No one has spoken on how much prisons cost. Now take your suggestion and add even more to the cost. More guards, more supervision, and of course since it’s the government, another layer of supervision. In the end it might be cheaper to teach convicts; oh some basic life skills, a trade, or gasp! some old-fashioned education. Better ask the prison guards and their unions about 12-16 days too. I’d imagine they wouldn’t be the least bit happy. Lumping everything under security. Armed guards, gated subdivisions, signs in your yard from a security company? Excellent marketing; however they do show good thieves you don’t have stuff worth stealing. The best security is either none, or stuff you don’t see. At various times in my life, I had a jeweler and a furrier as room mates. The jeweler carried loose diamonds in a tube in his pocket, the furrier drove a white work van. I can hear all the NRA boys grinding their teeth. I was leaving on a business trip one time. GF at the time asked how to use my auto-loading shotgun. Take the safety off, pull handle back, point, pull trigger, keep shooting. What if I run out of shells? Sweetie they make a hell of a mess.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Buy an old manual regular cab rear wheel drive base truck in white with a gray interior. Many younger thieves cannot drive a manual and if it is plain white and a boring trim most thieves will not even notice it.

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