In a state where one out of every four (or five) vehicles is a pickup truck, this sports and work icon placed first, second, third and seventh in the top-ten stolen vehicle derby in 2011, the last year for which numbers have been released.
The numbers also coincided with the the sales ratings for truck popularity in the state, with Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge in the one-two-and-three spots and GMC in the seventh. Toyota’s Tundra/Titan and Nissan’s Titan/Frontier vehicles did not make it into this decidedly undesirable ten best listing.
The full list is:
- Ford Pickups
- Chevrolet Pickups
- Dodge (Ram) Pickups
- Honda Civic
- Chevrolet Tahoe
- Honda Accord
- GMC Pickups
- Toyota Camry
- Ford Focus
- Chevrolet Impala
According to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, more than 55% of the stolen vehicles were recovered, but you may wish for non-recovered status if you are looking for your vehicle to be returned in the condition that it enjoyed prior to the theft. This is in keeping with the recently released info that tailgates from late-model trucks are among the most highly-desired components among car thieves — at about $4,000 replacement cost.
There are regional favorites among truck thieves, too. In the Rio Grande Valley, heavy-duty trucks top the list, while Panhandle scofflaws prefer standard sized models. I haven’t checked, but suspect that sales figures for trucks might reflect similar patterns.
While the Texas Auto Burglery and Theft Prevention Authority says that locking your doors while taking keys with you, and keeping valuables out of sight are the best advice to thwart would-be thieves, their advice on how to avoid purchasing one of these hot properties could be less obvious and even more helpful. After all, every vehicle theft potentially has two victims.
- When buying from a private individual, make sure the title and registration match the name and adress of the seller.
- Be cautious of a seller with no fixed address, place of employment or phone number.
- Ask the seller for references about past financing and inbsurance on the vehicle. Verify the info with the bank, finance company or agent.
- Ensure the vehicle id number (VIN) on the dash is present, secure and unaltered.
- Check to ensure the VIN plate has not been repainted and the numbers stamped on the plate appear to be original factory numbers.
- If in doubt about plate authenticity, check with a new car dealer who handles the same model or brand, or contact law enforcement. (Thieves may remove the VIN plate and replace it with one from a similar wrecked vehicle.)
- Be suspicious of any deal that seems to good to be true.