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Summary
  • A total of 1,020,729  vehicles were stolen in 2023, resulting in a staggering 25% increase in vehicle theft rates over the years.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a motor vehicle was stolen every 31 seconds in the US in 2023.
  • Purchasing anti-theft devices, parking in well-lit areas, and hiding valuables inside your vehicle can reduce the risk of vehicle theft.

Vehicle theft has been a recurring issue across many states, and theft rates have only gotten higher over the years.

Both the government and car owners have their fair share of responsibilities if they want to keep vehicles safe from theft.

As a vehicle owner, it’s your job to protect your vehicle at all costs and implement the necessary precautions to drive thieves away from your daily driver.

Pulling Up the Stats

Vehicle theft rates have risen steadily since 2019. A total of 1,020,729  vehicles were stolen in 2023, resulting in a staggering 25% increase in vehicle theft rates over the years.

California had the highest number of reported stolen vehicles in 2023, amounting to a total of 208, 668 units.

On average, this multi-billion-dollar crime cost vehicle owners more than eight billion dollars each year.

Which Vehicles Are More Likely to Get Stolen?

cars most likely to get stolen
Vehicle theft has been a recurring issue across many states, and theft rates have only gotten higher over the years.

Thieves have varying preferences when it comes to picking models out of the lot.

In the 2022 report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Chevrolet and Ford trucks were the most stolen vehicles nationally with 49,903 and 48,175 reported stolen units, respectively.

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In 2023, the NICB reported that the Hyundai Elantra and Hyundai Sonata were the most stolen cars that year with 48,445 and 42,813 stolen units, respectively.

Check out the complete list of the most stolen vehicles for 2023 below:

1. Hyundai Elantra (48,445 stolen units)

2. Hyundai Sonata (48,175 stolen units)

3. Kia Optima (30,204 stolen units)

4. Chevrolet Silverado (23,721 stolen units)

5. Kia Soul (21,001 stolen units)

6. Honda Accord (20,895 stolen units)

7. Honda Civic (19,858 stolen units)

8. Kia Forte (16,209 stolen units)

9. Ford F-150 (15,852 stolen units)

10. Kia Sportage (15,749 stolen units)

How to Keep Your Vehicle From Being a Target

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one motor vehicle was stolen every 31 seconds in the US in 2023.

And while drivers can’t control what goes on in the heads of thieves, they can certainly do a lot to keep their vehicles safe.

Thieves are more likely to go after vehicles that appear unguarded, and drivers who often forget to lock their doors and leave valuable objects exposed usually fall victim to theft.

Here’s what you can do to prevent vehicle theft.

Precautionary Measures

These are the things you should always keep in mind every time you go out for a drive.

Don’t Forget to Lock Your Car

Whether you’re in a rush or taking your sweet time, always remember to lock your car.

Drivers who are often late for their appointments tend to bolt out of their doors without thinking twice about locking their car. The next thing they know, they’re staring at an empty parking space.

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Park In a Well-Lit Area

Thieves are less likely to go after a vehicle in an exposed parking spot with enough lighting, mainly because bystanders will be able to spot them easily.

Aside from open spaces, you can also consider parking near a lamp post when it’s dark for added visibility.

Never Leave Your Keys

Many drivers would rather leave their keys in their vehicles with the engine on when doing short trips to the coffee shop or buying something from the convenience store across from a gas station.

With vehicle theft rates on the rise, keep in mind that it only takes less than a minute for a thief to break into your car and drive away.

Don’t Hide a Spare In Your Car

Thieves have gotten crafty when it comes to breaking into vehicles. All doors can be locked, and they’d still find a way to get inside, which is why you shouldn’t leave a spare key in your car.

Avoid Leaving Your Valuables In Plain Sight

Your vehicle is more likely to get stolen when thieves can see something valuable inside, such as your purse, money, and pieces of jewelry. Make sure to keep them somewhere safe whenever you step out of your vehicle.

Anti-Theft Devices to Install

Vehicle theft prevention includes the help of several security devices. Here are some anti-theft devices you might want to install.

Audible and Visible Devices

  • Horn alarm
  • Steering wheel locks
  • Theft-deterrent decals

Immobilizers

Vehicle Recovery Systems

  • GPS trackers

What’s the Government Doing About This?

Local government units from all over the country have been trying to come up with a solution to reduce vehicle theft.

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In Arlington, Virginia, for example, the county police department offered free steering wheel lock devices to residents ahead of the peak summer season.

The anti-theft device giveaway also came with educational information for residents to keep in mind when parking their vehicles.

In Chicago, Illinois, the secretary of state also proposed to allocate more funds to combat carjackings and vehicle theft.

The 11 million-dollar budget was intended to be distributed across six major police organizations to get supplies like license plate readers, helicopters, tracking devices, and more.

Help! My Car Got Stolen!

If your vehicle gets stolen, it’s extremely important to file a stolen vehicle report as soon as possible. You’ll need to provide a copy of the police report or case number to your insurance company.

Some of the information you’ll need to provide includes your vehicle’s license plate number, year, make, model, color, vehicle identification number, and other characteristics that may make the unit easier to identify.

You should also contact your insurance company within 24 hours of your vehicle getting stolen.

Lastly, should you find your vehicle before the authorities, make sure to let them know.

About The Author
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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