DES PLAINES, Ill. – The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released its annual Hot Wheels report identifying the top 10 most stolen vehicles in the United States in 2020. For the second year in a row, the Ford full size pick-up was the model most targeted by thieves, followed by the Chevrolet full size pick-up, which supplanted the formerly second-place Honda Civic.
"Auto thefts saw a dramatic increase in 2020 versus 2019 in part due to the pandemic, an economic downturn, law enforcement realignment, depleted social and schooling programs, and, in still too many cases, owner complacency," said David Glawe, president and CEO of the NICB. "For many people, a car is the second largest investment they will ever make behind a home. No matter what kind of vehicle you have, take steps to protect your investment – lock your car and take your keys."
Thefts for all models in the top 10 were up in 2020 compared to 2019, but only Ford, Chevrolet, and GMC full size pick-ups and the Honda CR-V saw double digit theft increase percentages. In this year's list, six of the top 10 most stolen vehicles were Japanese models.
The annual Hot Wheels report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model, and model year most reported stolen in 2020.
To guard against thefts of vehicles, NICB recommends drivers follow these four layers of protection to guard against vehicle theft:
1. Common Sense — the common-sense approach to protection is the easiest and most cost-effective way to thwart would-be thieves. You should always:
- Remove your keys from the ignition
- Lock your doors/close your windows
- Park in a well-lit area
2. Warning Device — the second layer of protection is a visible or audible device which alerts thieves that your vehicle is protected. Popular devices include:
- Audible alarms
- Steering column collars
- Steering wheel/brake pedal lock
- Brake locks
- Wheel locks
- Theft deterrent decals
- Identification markers in or on vehicle
- VIN etching
- Micro dot marking
3. Immobilizing Device — the third layer of protection is a device which prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys. Other devices inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated. Some examples are:
- Smart keys
- Fuse cut-offs
- Kill switches
- Starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers
- Wireless ignition authentication
4. Tracking Device — the final layer of protection is a tracking device which emits a signal to police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ "telematics" which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.