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Watch your tail(gate)

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Pickup truck owners would be wise to watch their tailgates as thefts of the car parts are on the rise. A first-time study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, or NICB, released earlier this week finds that pickup truck tailgate thefts have been rising since 2009, with an 18 percent increase projected from 2011 to 2012.

The NICB report examined theft claims submitted to car insurance companies from Jan. 1, 2006, through Sept. 30, 2012, and found that Texas had the most claims at 451 out of a reported 1,343 theft claims. California ranked second with 272 claims, followed by Arizona with 125 claims. Rounding out the top five were Florida with 86 thefts and Nevada with 36 tailgate thefts.

In terms of cities, those within Texas had the highest incidence of claims. The top five cities where the most pickup truck tailgate thefts occurred were: Houston, 96; San Antonio, 70; Dallas, 51; Phoenix, 36; and Fresno, Calif., 31.

Pickup truck tailgate thefts aren't new and tailgates are often targeted because they are easy to steal in less than one minute and can command high resale rates.

The NICB says tailgate thefts have been rising dramatically. From 2006 through 2009, only 23 tailgate theft claims were processed by car insurance companies. In 2010, the number of claims shot up to 430 and increased again to 472 in 2011. At the time of the study, only data through September were available for 2012, when claims had already reached 418. The NICB projected that total tailgate theft claims would reach 557 for all of 2012.

The NICB says the pickup truck tailgate theft numbers in its study were not indicative of actual theft activity, as it knows some car owners who have had their tailgates stolen choose not to submit a car insurance claim for various reasons.

Was it a surprise to you how many pickup truck tailgates have been stolen? What can owners do?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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nick nelson
February 11, 2013 at 10:44 pm

a simple anti theft device for truck tailgates that I have used for forty years is a properly placed hose clamp . Try it and you will see they can no longer get the gate off without tools. Put the clamp on the slotted side you may need a backing band on some models to go over the slot

February 11, 2013 at 9:30 pm

@Roscoe--thanks for the info--I have a toneau cover, lock & lock the tailgate...haven't had any problems so far, but I'm going to check out McGard. Thanks again!

February 11, 2013 at 9:21 pm

There are some simple solutions to prevent tailgate theft as this is a very common issue. All car dealers and owner's (retail and commercial) need to lock their tailgates. Dealers and owners need to verify on a daily basis that the tailgates are locked. Estimates can reach up to $5,000.00 as some tailgates may be equipped with cameras or integrated steps. There is a lock cylinder on most tailgates. However, if there is not an OEM lock on the tailgate, then an aftermarket lock such as Pop Locks can be installed for $40.00. McGard (the company that makes wheel locks) makes a locking band that can be installed by anyone for $20.00. The locking band is placed over the right side hinge. The tailgate can be opened with the McGard lock in place. However, the tailgate can not be removed without the McGard lock key.