Planning for an end-of-summer road trip? Keep in mind that people on the road will be preoccupied with what to do on their vacation, making their car and valuables more vulnerable to theft. So if you’re planning to visit some of the most popular road trip destinations, take a look at the commonly stolen vehicles at five top locations, and learn what you can do to keep your car safe (even if your model isn’t on the burglar’s list).
No. of motor vehicles stolen: 146,848 | California is home to various scenic destinations such as the Pacific Coast Highway, the Big Sur, and the Garrapata State Park. However, California is also home to several car theft hot spots. In this state, thieves can’t get enough of 1994 Honda Accords, 1998 Honda Civics, and 1991 Toyota Camrys.
No. of motor vehicles stolen: 39,621 | Key West, which is known as Ernest Hemingway’s “favorite retreat,” the manatee wintering grounds in Crystal River, and the Wakulla Springs are just some of the most popular road trip destinations in Florida. For a safer trip, be extra cautious when you’re driving a 2006 Ford Pickup, a 2000 Honda Civic, or a 1996 Honda Accord since these are thief magnets.
No. of motor vehicles stolen: 28,769 | With plenty of attractions such as the gorgeous Lake Michigan and the vibrant Magnificent Mile, Illinois is another iconic destination. When traveling with the family, make sure your 2000 Dodge Caravan, 1995 Honda Civic, or 1996 Honda Accord is well-equipped against thieves as these vehicles are the usual targets of thefts.
No. of motor vehicles stolen: 9,485 | Whether you’re looking for an adventure in or out of a casino, the state has Las Vegas and the infamous Nevada desert to keep you occupied. To lessen the chances of vehicle theft, keep in mind that 1994 Honda Accords, 1995 Honda Civics, and 2004 full-size Chevy pickups are favorites among car thieves.
No. of motor vehicles stolen in 2011: 19,311 | The Niagara Falls, Hudson Valley’s Bear Mountain State Park, and the Big Apple are just some of the places you should check out. New York may have a relatively low vehicle theft rank compared to California and Florida, but it pays to keep a watchful eye to avoid becoming part of the statistics. This is especially true if you’re driving a 2000 Honda Civic, a 1994 Honda Accord, or a 2010 Toyota Camry
What you can do to deter thieves
Older Honda Civics, Accords, and Toyota Camrys are popular among thieves because they lack anti-theft features and are rich in easy-to-sell parts that are always in demand. They’re also notoriously known for ignition keys that, when properly grounded, will also work on other Civics, Accords, and Camrys. To keep your car safe, immobilizing devices such as a kill switch can deter thieves by preventing electricity or fuel from flowing into the engine once a hidden switch is activated. A steering wheel club can also help prevent thieves from driving away with your vehicle.
As for old Ford, Dodge, and Chevy pickups, they are easy targets because they also lack anti-theft features. Once stolen, these trucks are usually sent to the chop shop because they have powerful engines that are high in demand. Having a huge cargo room also makes these vehicles a favorite among criminals because they can be used to steal, smuggle, or tow away goods fast.
Aside from safety devices such as alarms, wheel locks, tracking mechanisms, and kill switches, having the VIN etched on various parts can lessen the value of your vehicle to thieves. Also make sure that the cargo beds aren’t filled with tools and other goods that thieves can sell.