August 3rd, 2009 by Penny Hagerman
It’s your worst nightmare (and reminiscent of an Ashton Kutcher movie from a few years back): You drive across town to a friend’s house, park your car across the street, and head over for a rockin’ good time at a party.
Later that night (or early the next morning), you stagger outside, head across the street—and your car is gone.
Nowhere to be seen. Vanished—like Cinderella from the ball. Now what?
Though this scenario may not fit your lifestyle completely, vehicle theft is serious business, one you’d never expect to encounter during the course of a normal, routine day. But it happens all the time, leaving innocent drivers holding the bag and wondering what they did to deserve such a bad break.
How likely are you to have such a horrible, nerve-wracking experience as car theft? Well, that depends. If you happen to live in Modesto, California and/or drive a Honda Civic, you’re more likely than most.
It seems Modesto is the top U.S. city for car theft, and the 1995 Honda Civic is the most frequently stolen car in the country—increasing your chances if you live in that area or drive that particular car.
But no one is immune. According to the FBI, a car is stolen every 29 seconds in the U.S., and the rate of theft in 2007 was an estimated 363.3 per 100,000 people. Property losses in 2006 were nearly $8 billion, for an average of $6,649 per stolen car.
So what do losses like that mean to the average Joe (or Jane) like you and me? Other than possibly losing our prized speedster, economy model or SUV, it means higher insurance costs—something we’d all like to avoid.
For a list of the most-stolen cars, check out Jeb’s article on the subject here. Oh, and next time you head out to party with a friend, play it safe and do what you can to avoid theft: lock your doors, park in a well-lit area, and use a Club or other restrictive device to discourage joy-riders. It could make all the difference.