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Commonly Stolen Cars and How to Keep Yours Safe

July 9, 2020

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Car theft is a common property crime all around the world. In the US, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has reported that an estimated 748, 841 vehicles were stolen in 2018 alone. This means that this crime affects thousands of Americans every day.

Here are the states with the most number of reported motor vehicle thefts based on the data released by the FBI:

  1. California

  2. Texas

  3. Florida

  4. Washington

  5. Georgia

Vehicles are one of the most valuable assets a person can legally own, which is why it is not surprising that many professional thieves target them. But did you know that older models are more likely to be stolen? This is because most of these vehicles lack modern security features — making it easier for thieves to break into them.

However, not just because you have a newer model will mean you are safe. In 2018, over a thousand units of GMC Pickup (Full Size) were stolen the same year. The same goes for the 2018 Ford Pickup (Full Size), with over a thousand units stolen during its first year of release.

According to data gathered by Insurify, here are the 10 most stolen cars in America:

  1. Honda Civic

  2. Honda Accord

  3. Ford Pickup (Full-size)

  4. Chevrolet Pickup (Full-size)

  5. Toyota Camry

  6. Nissan Altima

  7. Toyota Corolla

  8. GMC Pickup (Full size)

  9. Dodge Pickup (full size)

  10. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

How Car Thieves Are Utilizing Modern Technology in Their Schemes

Traditionally, car thieves break into vehicles by breaking their windows or damaging their locks. But since many vehicles are now equipped with rigid anti theft systems, their previous tactics may not work at this modern age. This forced them to evolve and use modern technologies in their crimes.

The continuous advancements in automobile technology has introduced us to key fobs that don’t just unlock cars with a push of a button, but can also start them. It is a convenient yet useful device to have, but modern car thieves have found a way to hack key fobs to break into their target vehicles.

This process is often referred to as “signal relaying.” Usually, two thieves are needed to complete this tactic. Using a wireless transmitter, one of them will go near you — allowing him to intercept your fob’s code. The data will be sent to a second device carried by his accomplice. It will act as your fob, fooling your car to unlock.

Aside from signal relaying, here are other high-tech techniques that modern car thieves use:

  • Signal Jamming – Thieves use a device that can jam your fob’s signal. This prevents your vehicle from locking, even after you press the lock button on your fob.

  • Code Grabbing – Using advanced gadgets, car thieves will capture the signal once a vehicle owner locks his car. Their gadgets will then calculate the unlock code.

  • App Hacking – Car thieves will hack apps that vehicle owners use to unlock their car. Though, this technique is still not really popular today.

What to Do to Prevent Car Theft

Thousands of Americans fall victim to car theft every day. That is why you must set up measures that will keep yours safe. These make your vehicle less attractive to thieves and help you avoid being their next victim.

To help you with this, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has come up with a four layer protection approach that every vehicle owner must seriously consider:

Layer 1: Common Sense
Human negligence makes it easier for professional thieves to steal your car. That is why even if you are just leaving your vehicle for a few minutes, make sure that you keep it secured. Keep your doors locked, never leave your keys in the ignition, and always park in a well-lit area.

Layer 2: Warning Device
Make sure that thieves know that your vehicle is protected. This can potentially scare them away from breaking into your vehicle. To do this, install visible security devices on your vehicle such as audible alarms, brake locks, window etching, and steering wheel lock.

Layer 3: Immobilizing Device
It is common for professional thieves to bypass your ignition by hot-wiring the vehicle. With that, you should have an immobilizer system that will disable the vehicle once a thief is trying to hot-wire it. This system may be composed of devices such as smart keys, fuse cut-offs, kill switches, and more. You will need the help of a mechanic to ensure that each device is installed properly in your vehicle.

Layer 4: Tracking Device
The last layer of NICB’s layered approach is installing a tracking system into your car. In case the first three layers didn’t work, this gives you a way to easily locate the whereabouts of your stolen vehicle. With the use of GPS and wireless technologies, tracking systems can help authorities to recover your vehicle much faster.

Car theft is not just a major inconvenience, it is also a huge expense. Keep in mind that your vehicle is one of your most valuable assets. With that, setting up measures that will ensure its safety is expected from every vehicle owner. And by understanding how thieves work in this modern age, you will be able to protect your vehicle from their high-tech techniques.


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