Hot Spots for Hot Cars: Colorado Leads U.S. in Vehicle Theft Rate, California in Overall Thefts

Texas, California, Florida, Illinois, and Colorado are all places where your car is most likely to be gone in 60 seconds.

Nationwide, 932,329 vehicles were reported stolen to law enforcement in 2021, a 6% increase over 2020, and a 17% increase since 2019.

The top five states by volume -Illinois, Florida, Colorado, California and Texas – account for 44% of all vehicle thefts nationwide. Colorado led the nation in 2021 with the highest overall theft rate at 661.21 thefts per 100,000 people, up from 502.12 in 2020, an increase of 32%.

California claims the highest volume of vehicle thefts in 2021 with 200,524 vehicles stolen. Bakersfield, California also had the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and Core-Based Statistical Area (CBSA) with the highest theft rate in the U.S. – 1,024 thefts per 100,000 people.

Of the top states, only Florida saw a slight decrease in vehicle thefts in 2021 with 42,808, down from 44,940 in 2020. Since the release of the 2020 Hot Spots report, 22 states have seen decreases in vehicle thefts.

“For many of us, cars are essential to our livelihoods and the welfare of our families,” said NICB President and CEO David Glawe.

“NICB, along with our partners in law enforcement, are proactively working to prevent and deter vehicle theft, but vehicle owners can take simple steps to empower themselves,” said Glawe. “No matter who you are or where you live, theft prevention starts with good security hygiene. Lock your doors and keep your keys with you at all times.”

Preventing vehicle theft can also mean lower auto insurance rates since high-theft areas typically pay more for insurance, as do the drivers of the most frequently stolen vehicle models.

When a car is stolen, call law enforcement and the insurer immediately. NICB data shows that reporting a vehicle as soon as possible after it is stolen increases the chance of recovery.



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