Ferdinand Porsche said: 

"I couldn't find the sports car of my dreams, so I built it myself." 

The rest of us might be forced to find the car of our dreams, as we certainly don't all have the resources or imagination to design them. 

But one thing’s for sure:

We love our cars! 

For some of us, it’s simply a case of getting from A to B. For others, it’s all about the joy of being behind the wheel. Whatever the case, we’ll all find these car theft statistics genuinely shocking. 

The thing is:

Cars are an expensive commodity. Then, of course, there are associated costs. Gas, tax, insurance, regular services, and maintenance all add up. But, these expenses keep us on the road safely. They give us convenience as well as style. Thanks to our cars, we don't have to stand at a freezing bus stop at 7 am. 

But, when you look at these car break ins statistics, you might start to wonder if we are offering our cars enough protection. 

Top Car Break Ins Statistics (Editor’s Pick)

  • About $6 billion were lost to auto theft in 2018.
  • New Year's Day is the most common holiday day for vehicle theft, with 2,469 stolen vehicles.
  • Some new cars can be broken into in as little as 10 seconds.
  • Between January 2016 and December 2018, 229,339 stolen vehicles had key fobs or keys left inside. 
  • 38,426 Honda Civics were stolen in 2018.
  • California had 155,211 vehicles stolen in 2018. 
  • In the US, the average recovery rate is 46%.

Auto Theft Statistics

1. About $6 billion were lost to auto theft in 2018.

These mind-blowing auto theft stats include the theft of cars, trucks, buses, scooters, snowmobiles, and other road vehicles. 

2. $8,407 was the average loss per theft.

Loss per theft varies massively between states, depending on the average value of vehicles, and the new to used car ratio on the roads. 

3. New Year's Day is the most common holiday day for vehicle theft, with 2,469 stolen vehicles.

New Year's Day is often a popular time for crime. People have been out. They are tired. They might have left their car in an unusual place. So, thieves jump on New Year's Day as an easy target. 

Other popular days include Halloween (2,297), Memorial Day (2,290), Labor Day (2,180), Valentine's Day (2,169), Independence Day (2,124), Christmas Eve (2,054), Thanksgiving (1,777), New Year's Eve (1,962), and Christmas Day (1,664). In previous years, Black Friday has also been a hotbed of vehicle theft, with 2,244 reported stolen in 2015.

5. In the UK, motor vehicle theft statistics show that vehicle thefts rose by 50% in 5 years.

This is primarily attributed to reduced police levels and criminal gangs hacking keyless systems. 

6. Between 2015 and 2017, 697,000 motor vehicles were stolen in the EU.

Car crime is very much a global issue and certainly not something that is confined to the US. The situation is just as bad in Europe. 

7. 32% of cars stolen in winter months have their keys left inside, compared to 24% the rest of the year.

Many of these cars are taken by a process known as frosting. This is when thieves steal vehicles while their owners are defrosting them, having left the keys in while they return to the house or going about other tasks. Many insurance policies do not cover these thefts. 

8. Some new cars can be broken into in as little as 10 seconds.

While many new cars are significantly safer on the road and harder to steal, this isn't the case across the board. Criminals are becoming more sophisticated and can hack keyless fobs quite easily. Many cars can be taken in a blink of an eye.

Car Theft Statistics 2018

9. In the UK, car break in statistics grew by 9% in 2018.

This followed a steady increase in car thefts after a record low of 70,053 reported thefts between March 2013 and April 2014. The president of the Automobile Association (AA), Edmund King, called this growth "very worrying."

10. In the US, there were 228.9 reported thefts per 100000 in 2018.

This was a drop from 237.7 per 100000 in 2017. Numbers have been relatively consistent since reaching a high of 315 per 100000 in 2008.

11. In the US, stolen cars statistics were down by 3.1% in 2018.

Numbers have been relatively steady, with minor variations over the last five years, a stark contrast from stats from the UK.

12. 74.9% of all vehicles stolen in the US in 2018 were automobiles.

Cars make up a significant portion of road vehicles stolen. This is generally because they are easier to take and move without anyone noticing. They are also much easier to sell or use for parts. 

Car Theft Statistics by Year

13. Between January 2016 and December 2018, 229,339 stolen vehicles had key fobs or keys left inside.

Keys are more often left in cars in the wintertime, but it's still a problem at other times of the year. Never leave your keys in your vehicle, even for a minute, and you’re much less likely to become one of many stolen car statistics.

14. In 2007 over a million vehicle thefts were reported.

Most of these were cars, and the numbers have been much lower ever since due to harsher punishments for thieves and improved car security. 

But what models are we talking about?

Let’s find out.

Most Frequently Stolen Car 

15. 38,426 Honda Civics were stolen in 2018.

Older models of Honda Civic, especially the 1996 version, are often the most commonly stolen car. This might be shocking, as it's a car with no defining features that could easily get lost in a parking lot. Perhaps this is precisely what makes it easier to steal. 

16. 36,815 Honda Accords were stolen in 2018.

Another Honda at the top of the car theft statistics by model list. Interestingly, when it comes to motorcycle theft, Honda models are still the most stolen, with 8,260 reported thefts in 2018. 

17. Ford Pickup with 36,355 and Chevrolet Pickup with 31,566 are next in the top 10.

GMC Pickup and Dodge Pickup also rank highly. Pickups are an attractive option for criminals. 

18. GMC Pickup is the most common 2018 stolen model with 1,170 reports.

The top 2018 stolen model is still significantly lower than the number of thefts reported for older cars. Modern security is working in the US.

Top Places for Vehicle Thefts

19. California had 155,211 vehicles stolen in 2018.

The Golden State had significantly more vehicle theft in 2018 than any other state, and the most common car stolen was the Honda Civic. However, different crime rates in California are lower, and the poverty rate is low. So, it's not accurate to say that more car vehicle thefts happen in states with high crime, high poverty, and low education. 

Auto theft statistics by state are widely varied, with little reason behind the numbers. Florida (41,165), Washington (27,677), and Georgia (24,760) also feature highly. 

21. Only 253 cars were stolen in Vermont in 2018.

Car burglary statistics are low in Vermont, Maine, Wyoming, and New Hampshire in particular. 

Cities With the Highest Car Theft Rates

22. Albuquerque, New Mexico, had 7,146 vehicles stolen in 2018, making it top of the car theft rates by city list.

Often, it's smaller cities with fewer occupants that have hire thefts per capita than more densely populated areas. 

23. Anchorage, Alaska, had 3,087 thefts, at 773.4 per capita.

These include car break ins with no damage. Other popular cities for car crime include Bakersfield, Pueblo, Modesto, Redding, and Wichita. When it comes to car theft statistics by city, many of these places have reduced crime rates over the last five years but still have a long way to go. 

Stolen Car Recovery Rate

24. In the US, the average recovery rate is 46%.

Most stolen cars become automobile theft statistics but never get recovered, even though they might become the subject of the occasional pop song by Sting. 

25. In Utah, 63% of stolen cars are recovered.

Utah has a relatively high motor vehicle theft rate recovery. Washington is also high with 71%, while Alabama is low with 23%. When it comes to getting a stolen car back, where you live definitely plays a part. 


When it comes to protection and safety, knowledge is power. Our car theft statistics from reputable sources and trusted studies will help you learn more about car theft rates by model, and you'll be in a much better position to help yourself. 

Bottom line:

Avoid making the same mistakes, learn how to keep your car safe, and avoid lengthy insurance battles. Give the safety of your vehicle the attention that it deserves, and make the most of it while you can.