Like certain types of candy always attract children with sticky fingers, so there are makes and models of vehicle that always seem to attract the thieves. You can find lists of the hot favorites. We have the usual suspects of the cars with the poorest security. These are usually stolen as the free ride home when the money has run out or the last bus has gone. But then come the others which end up in pieces to be sold on as spares, and the smaller percentage stolen to order, retagged and sold on (or exported for sale). It's the difference between the amateurs and the professionals. Curiously, most of us seem to have a rather false sense of security, not bothering to check where the hot spots are for crime. There's a general wariness in the bigger urban areas like LA and Chicago with people driving some of the more desirable models fearing carjacking rather than theft. The truth is slightly different.
If you look at the national picture, carjacking is relatively uncommon, representing only about 3% of all vehicles taken in any given year. Everyone else just waits for the vehicle to be parked somewhere quiet and then opens the door and drives it away. Where the security system is reasonably sophisticated, the better organized go for a suspended tow. But the real surprise is that the vast majority of vehicles are stolen in smaller cities and towns. The larger urban areas are relatively safe. It's one of the classic urban myths that you should chain the wheels to street lights when in New York or somewhere densely populated.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau monitors the level of crime both by make and model, place of theft, time of day, and so on. The information is mainly collected from law enforcement agencies and the insurers who are asked to pay out as claims. The national trend over the first decade of this century has been a slow but steady decline in the number of vehicles stolen. The most dangerous state is California with Modesto, San Diego, Bakersfield and a host of other areas leading the way in this crime spree. Just to keep Californian thieves encouraged, there's good competition from Laredo, Texas and Yakima, Washington. Taking the top ten as a whole, it's clear they all share certain characteristics. There's easy access to good quality highways so escape is always easy. The local police forces also tend to be under pressure and make auto theft a lower priority. It's all about the chances of being caught. Go to the other end of the scale and you find Virginia Beach, New York and Austin, Texas with the lowest rates. This is a testament to more effective law enforcement. With higher levels of tax income to pay for better protection and local communities offering some self-policing, auto theft is deterred.
You can always tell something about your neighborhood from the car insurance quotes. Those on the high side suggest higher levels of theft. These claims drive up the losses to be shared by the local policyholders. Try a different ZIP code for another free run through the search engine. The car insurance quotes for the "better" areas come back depressingly lower.