On the hunt for a new car? You should be considering safety in your long list of criteria.
We don’t just mean how safe the car is. We mean how prone it is to being stolen.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a vehicle is stolen every 46 seconds in the United States. And if you live in California, there’s more bad news; more vehicles are stolen in California than any other state.
"...more vehicles were are stolen in California than any other state."
More than 175,000 vehicles were stolen in 2017, according to the California Highway Patrol. That’s a 6.2 percent decline from 2016, and is actually the largest decrease in auto thefts in the state since 2014.
However, residents of Southern California should practice extra vigilance; more than half of these thefts occurred in Southern California. In LA County alone, the CHP reported 49,114 vehicles stolen (a decrease from 2016 when 50,432 vehicles were reported).
Here are the top five cars most prone to being stolen in Los Angeles. Perhaps you’ll think twice before picking your next car, or take extra caution when leaving your vehicle unattended.
1. 1998 Honda Civic (26,972)
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2. 1996 Honda Accord (25,065)
The Civic and Accord make up 42 percent of cars stolen in 2016, many of them older models. According to the NICB, the prevalence of these two models is due to the fact that many of them were released before “smart keys,” a computerized system that uses sensors and microchips to automatically unlock and start the vehicle without an actual key.
3. 2004 Chevrolet Full-Size Pickup (7,152)
4. 1991 Toyota Camry (5,196)
5. 2006 Ford Full-Size Pickup (5,193)
*These numbers are based off a report of most-stolen cars in California in 2016 by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
So, what should you do if you already own one of the vehicles listed above, or are just wanting to take extra precautionary measures? According to the LAPD website, car thefts are more common in large groups of cars that are parked for long periods of time, like in shopping centers, college campuses, sporting events, cinemas, and large complexes. To prevent this, always park in high-trafficked, well-lit areas.
Here are some more tips from the LAPD on avoiding being the victim of a carjacking:
- Never leave your car running unattended or leave the keys in the ignition
- Roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it’s parked at home
- Never leave valuables out in plain sight
- If you have an older model, consider installing a steering wheel lock or brake locks
- Copy your license plate and vehicle information (VIN) numbers keep them with you. If your vehicle is stolen, the police will need this information to take a report