New Mexico's Albuquerque metropolitan area, which includes Bernalillo County, repeats as having the highest per capita auto theft rate in 2018, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) latest car-theft by city metro area report.
NICB’sreport analyzes vehicle theft data from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for each of the nation’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). These areas often include many other cities and towns beyond the namesake city.
Another note on the findings: as a population-based survey, an area with fewer people and a moderate number of thefts can—and often does—have a higher theft rate than an area with a much higher theft rate anda larger population to absorb it. That's why the St. Joseph, Missouri metro area, with 674 thefts, placed tenth, while Los Angeles, with 53,928 ranked at No. 38.
Key findings from the NICB's most recent research:
About $6 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2017.
The average dollar loss per theft was $7,708.
Motor vehicles were stolen at a rate of 237.4 per 100,000 people in 2017, virtually unchanged from 237.3 in 2016 but down 24.7 % from 2008.
In 2017, 773,139 vehicles were stolen, up 0.8% from 767,290 vehicles in 2016.
One motor vehicle theft was reported every 40.9 seconds in the United States in 2017.
The historic peak year for vehicle theft was 1991, with 1,661,738 reported thefts. In 2017, the total was 773,139. That is a 53% reduction since 1991.
Regardless of where vehicles are stolen the most, the reasons for theft typically remain the same. Older vehicles are usually stolen and chopped up so parts can be sold, while newer models are often shipped overseas or fraudulently modified and resold, according to the NICB.
Comprehensive car insurance covers theft
If your vehicle is stolen, you must have comprehensive car insurance to file a claim to replace it. When getting a quote for comprehensive coverage, you will need to choose a deductible amount. A deductible is the amount you’re responsible for paying before your insurance benefits start to pay out. Comprehensive insurance also covers damage due to flooding, fire, hail, wind, vandalism and animal strikes, in addition to theft. If your car is stolen and you make claim, you'll get up to the actual cash value of your car, minus your deductible.
The value of the car, your driving record, the deductible you choose and repair costs determine the cost of comprehensive coverage, but it is usually very affordable. The average annual cost nationwide for comprehensive coverage is just $192, according to a CarInsurance.com rate analysis.
But you can reduce your chances for theft, and trim your car insurance rates, by using anti-theft devices. Insurance companies will typically grant car insurance discounts of up to 15%, but sometimes even more depending on the device you have, if your car has theft protection.
Below are 382 metro areas with populations over 50,000, ranked by rate of thefts per 100,000 residents, as calculated by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.