CARS.COM — If TV's John Walsh hunted down cars instead of criminals, "America's Most Wanted" would broadcast a mugshot of a haggard Honda Accord. According to crime-stats crunchers at the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the perennially popular Accord was equally popular with auto thieves — albeit the Accord from 20 model years past.
NICB's just-released report, "NICB's Hot Wheels: America's 10 Most Stolen Vehicles," places the 1996 Accord at No. 1 among all vehicles stolen in 2015, with more than 52,000 gone missing. The report doesn't specify the body type, but the Accord was then available as a sedan, coupe or wagon.
The 2015 top 10, as usual, largely mirror a reordered version of the monthly best-sellers list but from a wide range of model years. This time out, however, a sort of staple oddity of the NICB list — the Acura Integra, last seen as a new model a full 15 years ago — has fallen out of sight. Still, Frank Scafidi, NICB director of public affairs, noted that the appearance of the 2015 Nissan Altima — coming in at No. 8 with more than 10,000 thefts — is a curiosity in its own right.
"Indeed, the absence of the Acura was noted but, in a similar vein, the presence of a current-year model appearing on the top 10 is an oddity as well," Scafidi told Cars.com. "There really is no one theory which prevails over another since the figures and rankings merely reflect what the actual data represent."
NICB calculates its rankings based on vehicle-theft data submitted by law enforcement agencies across the U.S. to the National Crime Information Center, determining the make, model and model year most reported stolen for a given year.
The top 10 most stolen vehicles for 2015, followed by the number taken, were:
10. 2008 Chevrolet Impala; 9,225 stolen
9. 2002 Dodge Caravan; 9,798
8. 2015 Nissan Altima; 10,374
7. 2014 Toyota Corolla; 10,547
6. 2001 Dodge full-size pickup truck; 11,212
5. 2014 Toyota Camry; 15,466
4. 2004 Chevrolet full-size pickup; 27,771
3. 2006 Ford full-size pickup; 29,396
2. 1998 Honda Civic; 49,430
1. 1996 Honda Accord; 52,244
The results for 2015 followed a familiar trend — though there were some surprises that support mounting evidence of an increasingly sophisticated brand of car thief in the age of difficult-to-circumvent anti-theft features.
"While older vehicles still dominate our 'Hot Wheels' most-stolen list, the number of late-model vehicles with anti-theft protection on the list goes to show that technology isn't foolproof," NICB said in a statement. "Criminals are doing their best to defeat anti-theft technology through hacking and other means while, at the same time, manufacturers and others are working to improve security."
Be that as it may, NICB noted that many of the vehicles stolen are still the result of the most basic common-sense lapses — namely drivers leaving their vehicles unlocked or with the keys inside. Since summer is the biggest car-theft season, it's a good time to make note of this preventable crime of opportunity.
For the 2015 report, NICB also calculated the most-stolen vehicles on a state-by-state basis. Across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the No. 1 most-stolen vehicle was one of just six different models from widely varying model years. These models, followed by all states in which each was the most-stolen vehicle, are:
6. Chevrolet Impala: Michigan
5. Dodge Caravan: D.C., Illinois, Maryland, Ohio and Wisconsin
4. Honda Civic: Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New Mexico
3. Ford full-size pickup: Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia
2. Honda Accord: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia and Washington
1. Chevrolet full-size pickup: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont and Wyoming