Whenever you hear that someone else’s car was stolen, somehow, it never occurs to you that the same thing could happen to you. As a matter of fact, the possibility of your own car getting stolen is very real.
According to car theft statistics, the likelihood of you falling victim to car theft is influenced by your location, the car model, and many more.
In this article, we’ve gathered the most interesting information on vehicle theft in the US.
Stolen Car Statistics—2022 (Editor’s Choice)
- Every 43.8 seconds, there’s a new vehicle theft in the United States
- In 2020, New Year’s Day was the most popular holiday for vehicle theft
- In the US, 810,400 motor vehicle thefts happened in 2020
- California had the highest number of reported vehicle theft cases in 2020
- Since 2010, 2021 has had the highest number of car theft cases in Los Angeles
- Ford Pickup was the most frequently stolen passenger vehicle in the US in 2020
- It’s 90% less likely for Tesla vehicles to be stolen than average cars
- Vehicle theft accounted for $6.4 billion in losses in 2019
General Auto Theft Stats
Car theft occurs way more often than you’d think. As a matter of fact, it happens once every minute.
1. In the US, there’s a vehicle theft every 43.8 seconds.
Not only do these thefts cost the owners and insurers millions of dollars, but they also cause insurance premiums to climb sharply, leading to everyone being a victim. However, keep in mind that if you have comprehensive insurance, car insurance companies can cover a stolen car.
Furthermore, there’s always something that people can do to prevent motor vehicle theft. For instance, the most important things owners should do are removing the ignition keys from the cars, locking the windows and doors, and parking in well-lit areas.
A car alarm helps in these situations, too, as when someone triggers it by opening the door, the car makes a loud noise, deterring the thief.
2. New Year’s Day was the most popular holiday for car theft in 2020.
In fact, there were around 2,320 such thefts on that day, according to auto theft statistics for the US. This is probably because people tend to leave their cars in parking lots during that day or sleep off a night of partying, making it easier for thieves to drive off unnoticed.
Some other popular holidays in 2020 when such crimes occurred were:
- Labor Day
- President’s Day
- New Year’s Eve
- Valentine’s Day
3. Keyless theft affects luxury car makers significantly, accounting for 48% of all “theft of” vehicle claims.
Keyless car theft statistics reveal that this type of theft affects luxury cars like BMW, Jaguar, Audi, Lexus, Land Rover, Porsche, Mercedes, and Tesla.
Furthermore, the number of claims, including possessions from vehicles or theft of parts, has also increased drastically in the last four years. In detail, there has been a 140% rise. In addition, the most frequent targets have been catalytic converters due to their precious metal content.
Car Theft Statistics by Year
In the last 10 years, the number of car theft cases hasn’t been stable, showing increases and declines every now and then.
4. The number of vehicle theft cases ranged from about 740,000 to 810,000 between 2010 and 2020.
More specifically, 2020 showed the highest number of such cases during those ten years, as per car theft statistics from 2020. Then again, 2014 saw the lowest number of vehicle theft cases during the same period—686,803.
5. In the US, there were 721,885 vehicles stolen in 2019.
According to the FBI, that number set the victims back with over $6 billion. In terms of reported stolen motor vehicles per 100,000 of the population, 220.8 such thefts occurred in the US in 2019.
6. In 2019, car theft accounted for $6.4 billion in losses.
(The Street, FBI:UCR)
Moreover, the average cost per theft was $8,886—a considerable amount of lost funds. However, as technology advances, so do anti-theft options for vehicles.
Now, let’s give you an answer to “how many cars were stolen in 2020.”
7. In 2020, 810,400 motor vehicle thefts occurred in the US.
Even though 2019 showed a decline in these cases compared to the year before, and things looked optimistic, 2020 demonstrated that we shouldn’t be ecstatic and jump to conclusions yet.
In other words, there were 246 reported cases of car theft per 100,000 of the US population in 2020, showing an increase from the previous year. We have yet to see what car theft statistics for 2021 have to show for the US.
8. Around 56.4% of locally stolen motor vehicles were recovered in 2020.
Moreover, around a third of stolen vehicles ever recovered are returned to the owners with around $1,000 worth of damage. Most of these thefts were joyrides, which typically end with a car accident.
In addition, law enforcement can typically find a stolen vehicle within 48 hours of after it was reported, as stats on stolen car recovery rate confirm.
However, there have been cases when a car was returned as many as 30 years later.
9. In 2021, there were 48,400 reported cases of car theft in the UK.
Given this, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency stated that the number of such cases increased by 3% compared to 2020. In other words, there were 46,800 cases of vehicle theft in 2020 in the UK.
Car Theft Statistics by State and City
In 2020, California was both the state with the highest number of vehicle theft cases and home to the city with the highest number of such cases per 100,000 of the US population.
10. In 2020, California was the state with the highest number of reported car theft cases.
More specifically, there were 168,323 such cases in the Golden State that year. In other words, car theft statistics confirm that there were 427.6 cases of car theft per 100,000 residents.
After California, the states with the highest number of vehicle theft cases in 2020 were Texas, Florida, Colorado, and Washington.
11. However, in terms of reported vehicle theft cases per 100,000 residents, Colorado was in the lead in 2020.
As a matter of fact, stolen car statistics reveal that there were 524.3 cases per 100,000 population. The District of Columbia was right after Colorado, with 476.8 car theft cases per 100,000 population in 2020. It was followed by New Mexico, California, and Missouri.
12. The state with the lowest number of vehicle theft cases in 2020 was Vermont.
Overall, there were only 264 such cases that year. This translates to 42.4 cases per 100,000 residents. Car break-in statistics uncover that other states with a low number of motor vehicle thefts in 2020 were:
- Maine: 862
- Wyoming: 964
- New Hampshire: 1,044
- Rhode Island: 1,509
- Delaware: 1,665
13. Bakersfield, California, had an auto theft rate of 905.41 per 100,000 residents in 2020.
This means that this city has the highest auto theft rate in the US. So, not only did California have the most stolen cars by state, but it was also home to the city with the highest theft rate per 100,000 population in 2020.
The second one on the list of cities with the highest theft rates (724.46) per 100,000 population was also located in California—Yuba City. This city was followed by:
- Denver–Aurora–Lakewood, Colorado
- Odessa, Texas
- San Francisco–Oakland–Berkeley, California
14. 2021 was the year with the highest number of car theft cases in Los Angeles since 2010.
According to car theft statistics for Los Angeles, the number of stolen vehicles has been increasing for the last two years. Looking at these thefts, we can say that the City of Angels didn’t really live up to its name, as in 2021, over 24,200 vehicles were stolen.
Let’s not forget to mention that from October to December 2021 alone, there were 6,946 vehicle thefts. Furthermore, the 2021 numbers marked a rise of 13.7% from 2020 and a 54.1% increase from 2019.
15. Carjacking statistics uncover that auto theft cases quadrupled in New York City in the last four years.
According to NYPD data, there were over 500 carjackings in 2021. In comparison, 2020 saw 172 fewer cases than 2021. Then again, in 2019 and 2018, the number of carjackings in the Big Apple was 132 and 112, respectively.
Unfortunately, many cities don’t have data available on this because police departments often classify these crimes as assaults or robberies.
Car Theft Rates by Model
Why are some cars more commonly stolen than others? Due to the high number of owners with the same models, parts for popular models are in demand.
Moreover, car parts often cost more when sold separately. Therefore, the demand for parts leads to these cars becoming targets for thieves.
16. In 2020, Ford Pickup was the most commonly stolen passenger vehicle in the US, as per automobile theft statistics.
That year, there were 44,014 vehicle thefts of Ford Pickup. The second most frequently stolen passenger vehicle was the Chevrolet Pickup. In fact, there were 40,968 thefts of that vehicle in 2020.
17. The third most frequently stolen passenger vehicle in the US in 2020 was the Honda Civic.
More specifically, there were around 34,144 thefts of the vehicle that year. The Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry were right behind the Honda Civic, with 30,814 and 16,915 thefts in 2020, respectively.
18. Motor vehicle theft statistics point out that Tesla vehicles are 90% less likely to be stolen than average cars.
More specifically, the Tesla Model S (the first electric car that won the Motor Trend’s Car of the Year Award) and the Tesla Model X are some of the least frequently stolen vehicles.
The primary reasons behind these models not being popular targets for thieves are the high-tech security features they have.
One of them, Sentry Mode, permits the vehicle’s cameras to record the surroundings even when the car is turned off, notifying the owner if it detects suspicious activity.
Car theft statistics may be on the rise, but the outlook isn’t bleak at all. Recovery rates for stolen vehicles are quite decent.
It’s important to note that awareness goes a long way in preventing car thefts, especially when it comes to car thefts resulting from keys left inside the vehicles.
The likelihood of your car being stolen decreases with every step you take towards security, such as installing and using car alarms, not leaving garage door openers inside the car, and avoiding leaving the car running and unattended.
People Also Ask
What is the reason most cars are stolen?
In the US, a car theft occurs every 43.8 seconds. But how can vehicles be stolen that frequently? Most cars are stolen because of the owner’s neglect.
For example, if the owner leaves their keys inside the car, doesn’t lock the doors and windows, or doesn’t park in well-lit areas, they’ll make it that much easier for thieves to steal their car.
How many cars are robbed a year?
The latest data available is from 2020, revealing that 810,400 motor vehicle thefts happened in the US. In other words, there were 246 reported cases per 100,000 residents.
Compared to the last nine years, 2020 showed the highest number of such thefts. On the other side of the spectrum, the lowest number was recorded in 2014, when there were 686,803 thefts.
How many cars are stolen in Canada each year?
While the US might take the lead here, Canada isn’t that far behind regarding vehicle theft. In fact, there were 205.64 thefts per 100,000 of the Canadian population in 2020.
Fortunately, this crime shows a downward trend. Between 2000 and 2020, 2020 was the year with the lowest number of these cases per 100,000 Canadian residents.
Most vehicle theft cases occur in Ontario, with one car being stolen every 48 minutes. In 2020, there were 24,259 vehicle thefts in this city.
What is the most stolen car in 2020?
The Ford Pickup was the most commonly stolen passenger vehicle in the US in 2020. More precisely, there were 44,014 vehicle thefts of that model.
The second most frequently stolen passenger vehicle that year was the Chevrolet Pickup, with 40,968 thefts. The third most frequently stolen passenger vehicle in the US in 2020 was the Honda Civic, with 34,144 thefts. Car theft statistics show that the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry were right behind the Honda Civic, with 30,814 and 16,915 thefts in 2020, respectively.