By Barry Janoff
August 1, 2016: If your '96 Honda Accord or '98 Honda Civic has been stolen, you are far from alone.
There are certain cars that find themselves at the top of the annual most-wanted list by consumers and autophiles.
Then there are cars that find themselves on the top of a much more infamous list.
Honda Accords and Civics from 1996 and 1998, respectively, accounted for more than 101,000 of the 700,000 vehicles reported stolen in 2015, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau's just released "Hot Wheels" study, which lists the most-stolen vehicles in the U.S.
The Accord and Civic were most popular among thieves in 2015, and remain so in 2016, because they were so popular in the 1990s.
"The fact is that there are still a ton of those cars on the road. (Those) Accords and Civics were top-sellers and are still plentiful," said the NICB, stressing that the vehicles were built before the advent of "anti-theft technology (that now) makes it much more difficult to steal a car. "
The NICB said that 52,244 Accords were reported stolen last year and 49,430 Accords.
"So as long as they are still running, and to keep them running, these older Accords and Civics are valued for parts and engines and are prime targets for car thieves," said the NICB.
The nefarious Top Ten list of the most stolen cars in the U.S. last year also includes 2006 Ford full-size Pickups (29,396), 2004 Chevrolet full-size Pickups (27,771), 2014 Toyota Camry (15,466), 2001 Dodge full-size Pickup (11,212), 2014 Toyota Corolla (10,547), 2015 Nissan Altima (10,374), 2002 Dodge Caravan (9,798) and 2008 Chevrolet Impala (9,225).
“While older vehicles still dominate our 'Hot Wheels' most stolen list, the number of late model vehicles with anti-theft protection on the list goes to show that technology isn’t foolproof,” Joe Wehrle, president and CEO for Des Moines, Iowa-based NICB, said in a statement.
“Criminals are doing their best to defeat anti-theft technology through hacking and other means while, at the same time, manufacturers and others are working to improve security."
Good news for owners of newer Accords and Civics, though. Anti-theft devices and other technology has significantly reduced the number of those cars stolen. Of Accords and Civics built from 2010-15, just over 11,800 combined have been stolen in the past six years, per NICB.
The Top Ten list of vehicles stolen from 2010-15 of model year vehicles from 2010-15 includes the Toyota Corolla (10,036), Nissan Altima (10,008), Toyota Camry (9,942), Chevrolet Impala (8,669), Chevrolet Malibu (8,543), Dodge Charger (8.227), Ford Fusion (8,082), Honda Accord (7,016), Ford F150 Series (6,722) and Chevrolet Silverado (6.297).
NICB has also compiled a list of the 2015 model year cars most targeded by thieves last year. This Top Ten is headed by the Nissan Altima (1,104), Chrysler 200 (1,069), Toyota Camry (923), Toyota Corolla (776), GMC Sierra (670), Dodge Charger (666), Hyundai Sonata (632), Chevrolet Malibu (629), Chevrolet Impala (594) and Chevrolet Cruze (586).
This, despite technology built to prevent such rip-offs.
“Far too often, drivers leave their vehicles unlocked or with the keys inside, making it way too easy for an opportunistic thief.," said Wehrle. In addition, "many stolen cars are not reported as typical thefts to police because many of today’s thefts are financial crimes involving complicated VIN switching, cloning, straw buyers, illegal exports and other sophisticated criminal methods.”
The Top Ten 'Hot Wheels' list of cars stolen in 2015 varies slightly from state to state, according to NICB.
Accords and Civics built in the 1990s are most wanted by car thieves in such states as California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Minnesota, Utah and Washington state.
Ford and Chevy Pickups are the most stolen vehicles in states including Florida Texas North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Kansas, Alaska, Indiana, Oklahoma, Idaho and Mississippi.
"As long as they are still running, and to keep them running, older Accords and Civics are valued for parts and engines and are prime targets for car thieves."
See the full state-by-state list here.
The NICB has provided some advise to deter car thieves via its "Layers of Protection." That includes Common Sense (lock your car and take your keys), Warning Devices, Immobilizing Devices (including“Kill” switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys) and Tracking Devices.
NICB not-for-profit organization "exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness."
The NICB said it is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB said member companies wrote more than $413 billion in insurance premiums in 2015 — better than 79% of the nation’s property/casualty insurance.
That includes more than 94% ($187 billion) of the nation’s personal auto insurance, per the NICB.
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