Why thieves love the '94 Honda Accord
The average age of vehicles on the list of most frequently stolen cars is 12 years.
NICB spokesman Frank Scafidi says he wasn't surprised that the plucky '94 Accord topped the list.
"It's a good car," he said. "They sold a lot of them and they stay on the road for a long time. The people who own them tend to take care of them, so that creates a demand for parts. That's why the thieves like them so much -- it's easy to sell their parts."
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The average age of vehicles on the top-10 list is 12 years, with the '91 Camry being the oldest. The newest car to make the list is the 2009 Toyota Corolla.
Scafidi said he isn't surprised that older cars tend to be popular targets. In addition to supplying in-demand parts, these older cars are:
- Easier to steal. Car manufacturers in recent years have added many theft deterrents that older models don't have.
- Not as likely to have after-market security devices, such as warning, tracking and disabling devices.
Scafidi notes that his group's study analyzes all stolen cars, not just those that are insured against theft.
He said many drivers drop comprehensive auto insurance when their vehicles get older, but he's not sure dropping that coverage is such a good idea. Comprehensive insurance pays you the value of your car if it's stolen; if you don't have comprehensive coverage, you won't be reimbursed for your stolen vehicle.
The NICB report also found that car theft in 2009 was down from 2008, and that 2009 was the sixth consecutive year that vehicle thefts in the U.S. have declined. Scafidi credits "a convergence" of factors -- better enforcement and prosecution, better tracking services for cars, and many standard and after-market devices that "make that vehicle less attractive to the opportunistic thief."
"Most thieves are just people who want to get from one side of town to the other and can't figure out the bus schedule," he says. "They're looking for cars that have the keys left in them, are parked in a dark place or have been left running while the owner ran inside to get a cup of coffee."
NICB also released a list of the metropolitan areas with the highest vehicle theft rates in the country. On that list, Laredo, Texas, was No. 1, followed by Modesto and Bakersfield, Calif. California cities took six of the top 10 spots.
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