These Are the U.S. Cities Where Cars Might Get Stolen the Most This Holiday Season

Car Thief in Action 6 photos
Photo: GCC | Edited
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FBI data says that around 287 cars per 100,000 inhabitants are stolen every year. The Bureau's findings show that car theft is a serious federal problem. Recently published estimates say that the value of all stolen motor vehicles in 2022 amounts to over $44.2 billion. But some places are more prone to car thefts than others. Here's where you might want to park in a garage or at a patrolled facility.
As you may expect, car theft rates can be higher in urban areas and regions with higher population densities. The prevalence of car theft may also be influenced by factors such as lackluster local law enforcement efforts, economic conditions, and the availability of security measures like car alarms and anti-theft devices.

This year might be a lot worse in that respect because of social media trends like the "Kia Boyz" that encouraged people to steal vehicles manufactured by South Korean auto brands that are part of the Hyundai group. The keyless relay attack is also a worry for vehicle owners.

One in eight Americans has dealt with at least a vehicle break-in during previous winter holiday seasons. As such, you should be very wary about parking.

The situation is even more dire for drivers living in or visiting cities like Riverside, California, St. Louis, Missouri, and Denver, Colorado. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) ranked these three urban areas as the worst places for car owners who don't want to see a stranger behind their ride's steering wheel.

Keep in mind that the data reveals what happened in 2022. Sadly, preliminary 2023 figures don't show any improvements. In fact, it has only gotten worse. Vivint says that in the first four months of the current year, St. Louis car thefts have increased by 50%.

Miami, Florida, and Seattle, Washington, complete the top five, while San Francisco, California, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, occupy the next two spots in this ranking.

Atlanta, Georgia, and Portland, Oregon, disappointingly follow suit. Detroit, Michigan, completes the top 10 cities with the most vehicle thefts per 100,000 inhabitants.

If you intend to visit one of these places or other urban areas that thieves might target, you might want to ensure that your vehicle's connected services are up to date. That's how you can track the car, in case it mysteriously vanishes. If your ride isn't equipped with this sort of tech, there are aftermarket solutions that can help the Police find your wheels quicker.

Vivint's study also revealed that the most unsafe cities during the Holidays are St. Louis, Missouri; Newark, Delaware; and Salt Lake City, Utah. They champion this negative ranking after the smart home technology company compiled data from Google Search Trends and Airbnb features (30%), NBIRS and vehicle theft data (15%), and neighborhood watches (10%).

As for autos, the ones thieves like most are Chevrolet Silverados, Ford F-150s, and Honda Civics.

Now you know the places to avoid as a car owner who enjoys their peace of mind. Happy holidays!
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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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