the NICB admits Toyota and Honda have a valid beef, because what its list does
not say -- and what the media does not report -- is that those "most stolen"
Camrys and Accords were probably 1990 to 1995, or even older, models.
"We are not talking about the 2003 and 2004 models in
our report," says Ed Sparkman, public affairs manager for NICB. "Over
90 percent of the vehicles taken were model years 1985 to 1987."
Sparkman says the agency plans to put model years on at least the top 10 in future
studies. "The auto manufacturers have a legitimate gripe about the model
years not being included," he adds.
Information Services Inc., also puts the Camry at the top of its list, but identifies
the specific year. NHTSA, on the other hand, ranks stolen cars by the number of
vehicles stolen compared to the number of models produced, putting two Chrysler
products at the head of the pack.
What does it all mean to the consumer?
It makes for interesting conversation around the water cooler but has virtually
no bearing on the family finances. Insurance companies don't base rates on any
of those lists, but rather on the frequency of cars stolen from their policyholders,
according to Jeanne Salvatore, spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute.
Rest assured, the agencies that compile these lists are not out to confuse you.
Whereas NICB lists are taken from the FBI reports, the lists from CCC, a software
firm, are from the total losses submitted to it by more than 350 property and
"We put out the reports
for consumer awareness and consumer interest," said Michelle Hellyer, strategic
manager of public relations for CCC. "The reports are not definitive. We
don't track for what reasons autos are stolen. It's true that most of the cars
are older models.
"It may be that many times
those cars have almost interchangeable parts in cluster years, such as 1992 to
1995. That would seem to make them more popular for people who are stealing them
Those years are also before
many models put in anti-theft devices as standard equipment, experts say.
NHTSA's list is not for consumer interest but is used to determine which high-theft
models must have certain parts stamped with VINs (vehicle identification numbers)
by the auto manufacturers and also which autos are exempt because manufacturers
install anti-theft devices as standard equipment.
data for these lists is older than that for the NICB lists," says Tim Hurd,
chief of media relations for NHTSA. "It lags a couple of years behind current
thefts." Models subject to parts-stamping range from the expensive makes
like the Alpha Romeo Milano 161 and Lincoln models and Maserati Biturbo to the
Chevrolet S-10 pickup and the Geo Storm. The idea for stamping the parts with
VINS is to make it more difficult to steal cars for parts and to prosecute these
cases at trial.
NHTSA ranks popularity on the number of vehicles stolen compared to the number
of models produced, so the Chrysler Town & Country ranked first on its list
with 248 stolen for 10,792 produced in 2001, or a 2001 theft rate of 22.98, which
means 2.298 percent of those built in 2001 were stolen. The Dodge Intrepid ranked
second with 1,442 stolen for 113,333 made, or a theft rate of 12.72 (1.272 percent).
The Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, which ranked fifth on NICB's list, is 54th
on NHTSA's list with 1,376 stolen in 2001 for 338,673 manufactured, or a theft
rate of 4.06. The 2001 Honda Accord was way down at spot 142 with 665 stolen for
379,508 produced, or a theft rate of 1.75 and the Toyota Camry was 80th with 1,123
stolen for 351,813 produced or a theft rate of 3.18.
As sport utility vehicles, trucks and minivans became more popular with the general
public, they also became car thieves' favorites: 17 were in the top 50 most frequently
stolen vehicles on NICB's list.
NICB, the 10 most common stolen autos in the U.S. in order of popularity among
1. Toyota Camry
2. Honda Accord
4. Oldsmobile Cutlass/Supreme/Ciera
Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
6. Chevrolet Full-Size
C/K Pickup Truck
7. Toyota Corolla
9. Chevrolet Caprice
Ford F-150 Pickup Truck
top 100 stolen cars, according the NICB, click
Here are the top 10 most frequently stolen
vehicles in 2001 by NHTSA criteria:
Chrysler Town & Country MPV
2. Dodge Intrepid
3. Chevrolet Metro
4. Acura Integra
5. Plymouth Neon
6. Dodge Neon
7. Dodge Stratus
8. Mitsubishi Mirage
9. Suzuki Esteem
10. Chrysler LHS
For a list of the top 200, according to NHTSA, click
CCC Information Services Inc. reports its top 10
with model years included. They are:
2. 1991 Toyota Camry
3. 1990 Toyota Camry
4. 2000 Honda
5. 1994 Honda Accord
6. 1994 Chevrolet C1500 4X2
Honda Accord Ex
8. 1988 Toyota Camry
9. 1994 Honda Accord LX
Honda Accord LX
is a freelance writer based in Georgia.
Posted: Dec. 9, 2003