A car is a large item, not like a jewelry or a cell phone. Have you asked yourself what do criminals do with stolen cars? Being on the receiving end of having your car stolen can be a stressful experience. Walking out from a store, from home, work, or another location and finding your car not there can put a pit in your stomach. Once you realize your car was not towed and the reality sets in that your car was stolen.
What do criminals do with stolen cars? Criminals have a couple of options when they steal a car, while some stolen cars get recovered by police, the majority end up either being chopped up and the parts are sold separately for profits. The other way criminals get rid of a stolen car would be to sell that car to another country. Exporting stolen cars are a big and profitable business for car thieves.
Criminals who steal cars can also simply joy ride the car and eventually wreck or abandoned the vehicle all together after a short period of time. These cars could be eventually used in other crimes as a getaway car where the car would be used and then abandoned.
While a car thief can resell a stolen car it is not the top choice when a car is stolen. When this takes place the VIN is replaced with a legally registered vehicle. This process is called VIN cloning that allows the criminal to hide the car’s true identity.
In 2016 there were an estimated 765,484 thefts of motor vehchiles nationwideFBI Uniform Crime Reporting
Motor Vehicle Theft by the numbers
The below numbers are from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program on motor vehicle theft.
Nationwide motor vehicle theft
from 2016 compared to 2015
was lost nationwide to motor vehicle thefts in 2016
What are the easiest cars to steal?
Some cars are more frequently targeted than others because they are easier to steal and because they have a greater value to the criminal. With that said electric vehicles are found to the least stolen according to the Highway Loss Data Institute.
Among the most cars to be stolen are the Dodge Charger and the Silverado by Chevy. Still, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s numbers, the Honda Civic and Accord were the number one cars stolen in 2017. It is also interesting to know that newer cars are typically harder to stell versus older ones because of advancements in the security systems of newer vehicles. The below list comes from the NICB’s top-10 list of the most stolen cars:
- 1998 Honda Civic
- 1997 Honda Accord
- 2006 Ford Pickup Truck
- 2004 Chevrolet Pickup Truck
- 2017 Toyota Camry
- 2016 Nissan Altima
- 2016 Toyota Corolla
- 2001 Dodge Pickup Truck
- 2017 GMC Pickup Truck
- 2008 Chevrolet Impala
Favorite colors of criminals looking to steal a car are the following. The information was provided by a survey done by CCC Information Services. According to the survey these are the top colors of stolen vehicles:
- Dark green
Do stolen cars get found?
Yes, they do, but not at a high rate. Professional cart thieves have a sophisticated network of mechanics, chop shops, and other associates who work together to quickly dispose of the car into parts and a network of people who they can move these parts to for a profit.
It is not uncommon for a vehicle to get stolen and be into many parts by the end of the day. This makes finding the stolen car again virtually impossible if it’s located with the first hours of it being stolen.
Ways to help prevent cart theft
There are things you can do to help prevent your car from being stolen. Now that we know what do criminals do with stolen cars you will want to try and prevent this from happening to you. Here are some tips that you can use to help reduce car theft.
- Park within a well-lit area when going out or parking your car for the night if possible. A cart theft would rather work the shadows of the night then be seen under a bright street light or house light.
- Lock your car when running errands or even at home. Make it that much difficult for car theft to get inside of your car.
- Never leave your keys in the car and running. This is the easiest thing you can do for a car thief.
- Make sure all windows are up and the sunroof is closed.
- Have an anti-theft system installed? Some systems even have a steering wheel locking system that could paralyze the car.
What happens if your car is stolen?
If you do find yourself with a missing car and you suspect your car was stolen consider the following first:
- Double-check to make sure your car was not in a tow zone and your car has actually been towed. You can use a website like FindMyTowedCar.com to check if your car was towed.
- If you have made sure your car was not towed then you can contact law enforcement to notify them your car was stolen. They can try and work quickly to see if they can recover the vehicle, however, time is typically not on their side, especially if a professional car theft was behind the theft.
Related questions to stolen cars
Protect yourself from items getting stoled from inside your car
Don’t leave valuable things lying around your car. Items like expensive sunglasses, cellphones, mall purchases in the bag, wrapped gifts, and more will only draw attention and you can easily become a victim of a smash and grab. If you do have valuables in the car put them in the trunk out of sight.