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Top 10 Stolen Cars – 2011 Edition

Car ThiefEvery year, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) issues its report on car thefts and break-ins. (The NICB counts them as a single crime.) Naturally, we want to know what vehicles lead the list — and if our vehicle is on it.

Want to know the top 10 most stolen vehicles in the U.S.? The answer depends on what you mean by “most.” There’s one list for raw number of thefts, which is led by the 1994 Honda Accord. (Yes, even after 15 years, thieves target this Japanese classic.) But there’s another list for frequency of thefts, which compares the number of incidents against the number of vehicles actually on the road, regardless of model year. And by that measure, the Cadillac Escalade SUV is the No. 1 stolen vehicle in the U.S. (Even when thieves don’t get the whole Escalade, they apparently love to take its parts, particularly its wheels.)

So let’s compare apples to oranges. First, here’s the NICB’s list of the Top 10 Stolen Cars, raw numbers version:

1. 1994 Honda Accord
2. 1995 Honda Civic
3. 1991 Toyota Camry
4. 1999 Chevrolet Silverado
5. 1997 Ford F150 Series/Pickup
6. 2004 Dodge Ram
7. 2000 Dodge Caravan
8. 1994 Acura Integra
9. 2002 Ford Explorer
10. 1999 Ford Taurus

And here’s the same list, only looking at frequency by nameplate, and the number of insurance claims per 1,000 vehicles currently on the road:

1. Cadillac Escalade (10.8)
2. Ford F250 FWD (9.7)
3. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew (9.2)
4. Ford F450 Crew 4WD (7.9)
5. GMC Sierra 1500 Crew (7.3)
6. Chrysler 300 (7.1)
7. Ford F350 Crew 4WD (7.0)
8. Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 (6.4)
9. GMC Yukon (6.4)
10. Chrysler 300 Hemi (6.3)

Manufacturers of newer models are trying to make their products more thief-resistant by upgrading the steering column ignition locks, reinforcing storage area locks, and installing “kill switches” on engines activated by unauthorized vehicle entries. Even so, resourceful thieves always seem to find a way — if not to take the entire vehicle, then certainly portions of it.

The best deterrent, experts say, is to park in a locked garage or in an area that is usually busy and well-lit.

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