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Accords, Camrys Popular With Public And Thieves; Pickups and SUVs Also Tops in California Auto Theft, According To Survey

Accords, Camrys Popular With Public And Thieves; Pickups and SUVs Also Tops in California Auto Theft, According To Survey

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sept. 30, 1998–The most popular cars and trucks with California drivers are also the most popular among thieves, according to a new insurance industry survey.

Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys are the most popular cars among thieves across the country, but pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles are quickly becoming the hottest hot wheels in California, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The survey, based on nearly 450,000 vehicles that insurers reported stolen to the NICB in 1997, found that city-by-city differences in auto buying habits were reflected in the preferences of car thieves. For example, while Japanese imports were the most stolen cars in Los Angeles, American-built cars topped the theft list in the Detroit area with pickup trucks the most stolen vehicle in the Houston area.

Vehicle thieves are not trend setters, said Ed Sparkman, senior vehicle theft manager for the NICB. They usually go for the most popular vehicles because they provide the best market for auto parts.

Sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks and vans are also quickly gaining popularity among California thieves.

Three out of the top 10 most commonly stolen vehicles in 1997 were either pickups or sport utility vehicles nationwide. This trend was particularly evident in San Diego, Riverside-San Bernardino and Sacramento, where several passenger trucks made the top 10 theft list.

An NICB report released earlier this year found that five California regions: Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Stockton-Lodi and Riverside-San Bernardino are among the nation’s top 20 for auto theft. In that report, the NICB analyzed data from the FBI, departments of motor vehicles and police agencies to determine auto theft rates in metropolitan statistical areas across the United States.

Consumers can log on to the NICB web site at to perform their own vehicle theft prevention checkup.

California has long been considered our nation’s car capital, but it’s also getting a reputation as a car theft capital, said Candysse Miller, regional director of the Western Insurance Information Service. But there are several things drivers can do to help protect their cars from joining this long list of theft statistics.

In addition to locking your car doors, WIIS recommends the following car security tips:

— Use anti-theft devices such as car alarms and steering wheel


— Never leave keys — even hidden — in an unattended car.

— Always park in well-lit areas.

— Hide packages or valuables out of sight.

— Never leave personal identification in your car.

Drivers whose cars made the top 10 list should especially consider using layers of protection by combining anti-theft devices such as steering wheel locks, alarms, starter and ignition cut-off switches and tracking devices.

WIIS has spokespeople available in California and Nevada to discuss safeguarding your car against crime and theft. For information about auto theft in your area or to set up an interview, please call 800/397-1679. -0-

Hot Wheels:

Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in California

By Metropolitan Statistical Areas, 1997

Los Angeles-Long Beach Riverside-San Bernardino

Honda Accord Honda Accord

Toyota Camry Toyota Camry

Honda Civic (and CRX) Honda Civic (and CRX)

Toyota Pickup 4×2 Toyota Pickup 4×2

Acura Integra Chevrolet Conventional Cab 4×2

Toyota Corolla Extended Cab

Oldsmobile Chevrolet 2 door Conventional Cab 4×2

Cutlass/Supreme/Ciera Oldsmobile Cutlass/Supreme/Ciera

Ford Mustang Chevrolet Small Van 4×2

Toyota Van Nissan Sentra

Nissan Sentra Toyota Corolla

San Francisco San Diego

Toyota Camry Toyota Camry

Honda Civic (and CRX) Honda Accord

Acura Integra Honda Civic (and CRX)

Honda Accord Toyota Pickup 4×2

Ford Mustang Jeep Grand Cherokee

Toyota Corolla Volkswagen Jetta

Honda Prelude Ford Ranger

Volkswagen Jetta Nissan Sentra

Mazda RX7 Ford Explorer XL 4×2

Acura Legend Acura Integra


Honda Accord

Toyota Camry

Honda Civic (and CRX)

Oldsmobile Cutlass/Supreme/Ciera

Toyota Pickup 4×2

Acura Integra

Toyota Pickup 4×4

Toyota Corolla

Chevrolet Camaro

Chevrolet 2 door Conventional Cab 4×2


This study is based on 447,007 vehicles reported stolen to the NICB nationwide in 1997 by member companies. This represents approximately 32 percent of all motor vehicles reported stolen nationwide.

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