US Vehicle Theft Statistics

cars

Did you know July is national vehicle theft prevention month? To commemorate the occasion, we've collected some key vehicle theft statistics for the US including which city and state has the highest rates of stolen vehicles. Spoiler alert: it's not Florida.

We’ve also included some must-read tips for safeguarding your commercial vehicle fleet and recommendations for crucial fleet management products to reduce the likelihood of vehicle theft.

Key Vehicle Theft Statistics

  • Council on Criminal Justice reported that vehicle thefts during the first half of 2023 were 33.5% higher, on average, than during the same period in 2022—representing 23,974 more vehicle thefts.
  • The National Insurance Crime Bureau reported that 1,001,967 vehicles were stolen in the US in 2022.
  • 2022 saw the highest rate of theft in 15 years, compared with a record 1.05 million vehicles stolen in 2008. (NICB)
  • The estimated value of the total theft is $8.9 billion (NICB).

US States With the Highest Rates of Vehicle Theft

It's unfortunate news for Californian residents, as the Golden State tops the charts for the highest yearly rates of vehicle thefts in 2022 in research from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

StateAnnual Rate of Vehicle Theft
California202,685
Texas105,015
Washington46,939
Florida45,973
Colorado42,237
Illinois38,649
Ohio29,913
Missouri29,345
New York28,292
Georgia126,529

US Metro Areas With the Highest Vehicle Theft

Zooming into individual metro areas, California still represents the highest yearly rate of theft with Bakersfield, CA revealed to be the number one hotspot for vehicle theft in an earlier study from the NICB into the amount of vehicles stolen per 100,000 residents.

Metro AreaVehicles Stolen per 100,00 Residents
Bakersfield, CA1023.68
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO964.92
Pueblo, CO891.39
Albuquerque, NM710.58
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA680.20
San Francisco – Oakland – Berkeley, CA675.86
Billings, MT611.11
Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI597.83
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA582.47
Yuba City, CA578.68

US States with Highest Increases in Vehicle Theft

While California takes the top spot for most instances of motor vehicle theft, there has only been a 1% increase since last year. On the other hand, some residents may be surprised to see their home states in the top 10 as they have experienced sharper increases in vehicle theft. Based on the NICB's data, we ranked the states by the overall increase seen in vehicle theft.

  1. Illinois – 35% increase in vehicle theft from 2021 to 2022
  2. Washington – 31% increase in vehicle theft from 2021 to 2022
  3. New York – 23% increase in vehicle theft from 2021 to 2022
  4. Texas, Colorado and Missouri – 10% increase in vehicle theft from 2021 to 2022
  5. Florida and Ohio – 6% increase in vehicle theft from 2021 to 2022
  6. California and Georgia – 1% increase in vehicle theft from 2021 to 2022

US States With the Lowest Rates of Vehicle Theft

It's not all doom and gloom. Residents of Vermont will be happy to hear that their home state has topped a more desirable chart. Here are the states with the fewest instances of vehicle theft in 2020, based on data from the FBI, Insurance Information Institute and US Department of Justice via Statista.

  1. Vermont – 264
  2. Maine – 862
  3. Wyoming – 964
  4. New Hampshire – 1044
  5. Rhode Island – 1509
  6. Delaware – 1665
  7. Idaho – 1767
  8. Alaska – 1969
  9. North Dakota – 2074
  10. West Virginia – 2333

How Can You Protect Your Commercial Fleet Against Theft?

While it's never good news to hear that vehicle theft is on the rise in the United States, we are here to present solutions. There are many strategies and tools out there you can implement to safeguard your vehicles, fuel and cargo. Some of the best fleet management technology comes with theft prevention features.

Why are commercial vehicles targets of theft?

While vehicle theft is a phenomenon that all drivers suffer, regardless of whether they drive professionally or for personal use, commercial fleet drivers should be aware of some more unique risks.

  • Cargo theft, stealing valuable items from the back of trucks;
  • Fuel theft or fuel skimming;
  • Technology theft, such as visible dashcams.

How to reduce the risk of vehicle theft?

  • Be sure to park in well-lit areas, or areas covered by CCTV.
  • Never leave your keys in the ignition.
  • Lock all windows and doors before leaving the vehicle.
  • Be careful about advertising what you are carrying in the trunk, online or offline.
  • Remove expensive items from the vehicle before leaving the vehicle, or place them out of sight.
  • Never leave your vehicle unattended while it's running.
  • If you haven't already, ensure your insurance package covers theft.
  • In case the vehicle is stolen, immediately contact law enforcement as well as your insurer as swift reporting can increase the chances of the vehicle being recovered.
  • Dashcams can help law enforcement to quickly solve theft with video footage – although they can cause break-ins if not properly secured or placed out of sight.
  • To prevent fuel theft, fuel cards can allow you to geo-fence gas stations and areas and send alerts in case gas is purchased outside of these limits.
  • Invest in vehicle tracking software with theft prevention features. Our GPS Trackit review covers how they offer geofencing and alerts, while our Samsara review shows how they offer a remote engine immobilization feature in the case of theft.
Conclusion

July being National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month serves as a reminder of the importance of safeguarding your commercial fleet against theft. The alarming statistics of vehicle theft, notably the mid-year increase of 33.5% from 2022 to 2023, highlight a growing need to take measures against such risks.

While not all states fall into the top 10 highest rates of vehicle theft, it's important for commercial fleets to stay vigilant due to domestic and international travel to unfamiliar areas, often while carrying valuable cargo. To combat vehicle theft attempts, drivers should follow advice about parking in well-lit areas, securing vehicles and being mindful about leaving vehicles unattended. Integrating solutions such as GPS tracking, dashcams, ELDs with theft prevention features and geofencing can help fleet managers achieve a greater sense of peace of mind when it comes to theft.

Written by:
Alice is one of Expert Market's resident software experts, helping businesses improve their efficiency or reach, with an emphasis on productivity software, CRM and telecommunications.