Motor vehicle theft is one of the most prevalent forms of property crime in the United States. It’s a concern almost anywhere in the country, but more so in some places than others.
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, motor vehicle theft is defined as “theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle.” Motor vehicles include SUVs, cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, motor scooters, all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles. Not included are farm equipment, bulldozers, airplanes, construction equipment and watercraft such as motorboats, sailboats, houseboats or jet skis.
In 2018, there were nearly 749,000 motor vehicle thefts nationally, 22.9 per 10,000 residents, and 75% of those thefts were of automobiles. Overall car thefts have slowly declined over the years, dropping 5.9% overall since 2009.
It’s still a major issue in some areas, though. Below, we’ll go over the 15 cities with the highest rates of motor vehicle theft, ranked by total thefts per 10,000 residents.
Cities With the Most Vehicle Thefts
1. Detroit, Michigan
The Most Stolen Vehicles
Model Year Most Stolen/(# Thefts)
Total Model Thefts
|Honda Civic||2000 (5,290)||38,426|
|Honda Accord||1997 (5,029)||36,815|
|Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2006 (3,173)||36,355|
|Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2004 (2,097)||31,566|
|Toyota Camry||2017 (1,144)||16,906|
|Nissan Altima||2017 (1,451)||13,284|
|Toyota Corolla||2017 (1,034)||12,388|
|GMC Pickup (Full Size)||2018 (1,170)||11,708|
|Dodge Pickup (Full Size)||2001 (1,155)||11,226|
|Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee||2000 (646)||9,818|
Motor vehicle theft is a real risk in any city, and it pays to keep a close eye on your vehicle. Having a car, truck or other vehicle stolen is costly and time-consuming, and it can impact you and your family’s peace of mind and safety. Knowing where the risk is greatest and what types of vehicles are most often stolen can help you take precautions and make sure you don’t become a victim of a motor vehicle theft yourself. Here we’ve listed the 15 cities with the highest rates of car theft and the 10 vehicle models most likely to be stolen. We hope this information helps you to avoid the risk of ever having a vehicle stolen.
To make our list of the 15 cities with the most motor vehicle thefts, we gathered data from the 2018 FBI Crime Report, using that data to compile a list based on the number of car theft incidents per 10,000 residents. To report on the types of cars stolen most often in the U.S., we sourced data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s report, “NICB’s Hot Wheels: America’s 10 Most Stolen Vehicles (2018 Data).”
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