Honda Motor Co.’s 1994 Accord was the most frequently stolen car in the U.S. in 2011 for the fourth straight year as the vehicle’s popularity and lack of security features made it a favourite among thieves.
Last year, 7,596 Accords from the 1994 model year were stolen, according the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The 1998 Honda Civic was the second most-stolen car, the trade group said in a statement. It was the seventh straight year that the top two spots were filled by cars from the Tokyo-based manufacturer.
“They’re actually stealing the older cars, because the safety features that the newer cars have, they’re not there,” said Joe Brosius, a retired Tempe, Ariz. police officer who heads the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators. “They’re easy to steal, that’s why they’re always No. 1.”
Newer vehicles are equipped with a feature to prevent them from being started when a key isn’t present, making the cars harder to hot-wire, Brosius said in a phone interview. Honda added the technology, which it calls the immobilizer system, to cars in 1997 and 1998, said Chris Martin, a spokesman for the automaker.
“It takes the technology barrier for a thief fairly high,” Martin said by phone. “They need to be fairly sophisticated to get around that.”
Ford Motor Co. full-size pickups from the 2006 model year were the third-most stolen in 2011, the first time a truck made the top three in data compiled by the group that goes back to 2000. That’s in part because NICB included more models in the category, said Frank Scafidi, a bureau spokesman. Ford’s F- Series, including the F-150 and F-250 pickups, has been the best-selling line of vehicles in the U.S. for the past 30 years.
The 2000 Honda Civic was the most stolen car in New York, while the 1994 Accord was favoured by thieves in New Jersey and the 1997 Accord was the No. 1 target in Connecticut.
Brosius said crooks often use stolen cars to help them commit other crimes.
“If you’re going to be selling dope and stuff, robbing things, doing burglary, any other crime, you’re probably going to steal a car because you don’t want to use your own,” he said. “It’s sort of a gateway crime.”
The data used in the NICB report track only the most popular model year for each car on the top 10 most-stolen list, so that no vehicle is listed twice. Nationally, U.S. vehicle thefts dropped 3.3 per cent last year to the lowest level since 1967, for eight straight declines, according to preliminary figures cited by the NICB. The trade group uses data provided by the National Crime Information Center, a database of crime statistics for use by agencies nationwide.
Vehicle-tracking technology, such as General Motors Co.’s OnStar, has helped cut down on car thefts, Scafidi said.
“You’re going to see less and less thefts as a general statement, just because of the anti-theft technology,” he said. “It will come to a point where everybody has something on their smartphone that says your car’s been tweaked.”
Columns Everything you need to know about purchasing, maintaining and driving your car.
Become a member
Register now to access all features including:
- Save and ask friends to review vehicles
- Exclusive rebates & offers from local dealers
- Premium content, reviews and tools
- You can unsubscribe at any time. Please Contact Us for details.
All for free!
Already a member?
Registration 2 of 2
Welcome to Wheels!
As a final step we've sent a confirmation to your email address as a security measure. Please click the link in the email to complete your registration.
Terms of services
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, TORONTO STAR IS PROVIDING THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES ON AN "AS IS" AND "AS AVAILABLE" BASIS AND MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, IN ANY CONNECTION WITH THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEB SITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. TORONTO STAR DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THEIR CONTENTS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL TORONTO STAR BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES), EVEN IF TORONTO STAR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEBSITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TORONTO STAR'S TOTAL LIABILITY FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.X