Motor vehicle theft in the United States increased significantly in 2016, the first substantial increase in 15 years. Still, last year’s uptick is minuscule when compared to the overall downward trend in car thefts of the past quarter century. In fact, despite an increase of roughly 70 million registered vehicles nationwide since 1991, the 750,000 cars reported stolen in 2016 is less than half the peak of 25 years earlier.
Of course, where you live can increase or decrease the chances of your car getting stolen. 24/7 Wall St. determined the city in every state where your car is most likely to be stolen based on data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
> City with most car thefts: Chattanooga
> Vehicle theft rate: 347.2 per 100,000 residents
> Total vehicles stolen in 2016: 1,881
> Most stolen car in Tennessee: 1999 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
The city with the highest rate of car thefts in a state is not necessarily the city with the poorest community or with the most widespread crime problems. The majority of these 50 cities have lower rates of poverty, higher household incomes, and higher educational attainment rates than their respective statewide rates.
Auto thefts in the United States are often carefully planned highly lucrative schemes for those who are able to evade law enforcement. According to the NICB, many cars are stolen by large organized crime rings running sizable operations.
Some cars are much more likely to be stolen than others. While expensive exotic cars may seem like the most efficient way to a large payout for a criminal, common cars like Honda Accord, Honda Civic, and Chevrolet and Ford pickup trucks are by far the most stolen vehicles in America. This is especially true of older models without modern security features.
To determine the city in every state where your car is likely to be stolen, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the vehicle theft rate in each metropolitan statistical area from the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s “2016 Hot Spots Vehicle Theft” report. Total vehicles reported stolen in 2016 in each city also came from this report. The most stolen car in each state is from the NICB’s “2016 Hot Wheels” report.