Calif. Thieves Prefer a Toyota or Honda

December 13, 2001

In a report released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, thieves in California’s urban areas prefer Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords, mirroring a national trend. But in rural and border regions, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles may be more likely theft targets, according to a new national report.

The Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Oldsmobile Cutlass remain the top stolen vehicles in America, especially popular targets for theft in several California regions. However, in areas such as Fresno, the Inland Empire and San Diego County, thieves are also likely to find pickup trucks and SUVs attractive, according to NICB data.

Theft trends reflect the taste of consumers in individual regions, said Insurance Information Network of California (IINC) Executive Director Candysse Miller.

“Thieves’ taste for particular makes and models of cars in one region to the next is a matter of supply and demand. If a certain model is popular in Los Angeles, the demand for black market stolen parts for that vehicle will also climb.”

Some insurers provide discounts for cars equipped with vehicle tracking systems. The NICB report also found that, after a 10-year decline, auto theft is on the rise in the United States.

Recent statistics released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Uniform Crime Report show auto theft rates increased 1.2 percent from 1999 to 2000. There were 1,165,559 auto thefts in 2000, compared to 1,152,057 in 1999.

“The troubling 2000 statistics indicate we need to commit more resources to address this problem and help prevent this increase from becoming a trend,” stated Robert M. Bryant, NICB president and chief executive officer.

Bryant suggested a variety of contributory factors behind the rise, including a sinking U.S. economy that spurs more thieves to steal vehicles for financial gain, the reassignment of many law enforcement officers from auto theft task forces, and open international borders that are difficult to monitor for stolen vehicles.

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