Anyone owning older model Honda Civics and Accords might want to take some extra precautions to keep the cars from falling into the hands of thieves, as the models once again top the list of most frequently sold vehicles.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau released its annual Hot Wheels report Wednesday. The report identifies the 10 most stolen vehicles in the United States by examining vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2016.
While Honda Accords and Civics dominate this annual list, they are older, pre-"smart key" production models. Since the introduction of smart keys and other anti-theft technology, Honda thefts have fallen precipitously.
Technology is working, but complacency can defeat it. While thefts are down dramatically since their all-time high in 1992, thousands of vehicles continue to be stolen each year because owners leave their keys or fobs in the vehicles and that invites theft.
"The increase in vehicle thefts over the past two years should be a reminder that drivers must do their part to protect their vehicles," said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. "Anti-theft systems in newer model cars and trucks are excellent, but they don't work if you don't use them. Far too many thefts occur because the vehicle is left unlocked and the key or fob is inside. Taking the time to lock it up every time you leave it can save a whole lot of headache and expense in the long run."
In 2016, the most frequently stolen vehicles in the nation were 1997 Honda Accords, followed by the 1998 Honda Civics. In California, the 1998 Honda Civic led the pack with 26,972 reported thefts, followed by the 1996 Honda Accord, with 25,096 thefts in 2016. The remaining top stolen vehicles in California in 2016 were: 2004 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size); 1991 Toyota Camry; 2006 Ford Pickup (Full Size); 1994 Acura Integra; 2015 Toyota Corolla; 1999 Honda CR-V; 1997 Nissan Sentra; and 2015 Nissan Altima.
The NICB stated older vehicles are stolen primarily for their parts value while newer, high-end vehicles are often shipped overseas or, after some disguising, sold to an innocent buyer locally.