Motor vehicle theft, one of the most serious offenses tracked by the FBI, is on the rise in the United States. There were a total of 810,400 motor vehicle thefts nationwide in 2020, the most in over a decade.
Motor vehicle theft can be either the theft or attempted theft of a vehicle, such as a car, truck, ATV, or motorcycle. Some experts attribute the rising rates of vehicle theft to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to vehicles sitting unattended and unused for longer than usual. Additionally, vehicle theft is often committed for monetary gain, and the pandemic sent unemployment soaring and left many Americans struggling financially.
While motorists nationwide now face a greater risk of vehicle theft than they have in many years, in some parts of the country, car owners are far more likely to be victims of car theft than in others.
Using data from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the metro areas where your car is most likely to be stolen in every state. Metropolitan areas are ranked by the number of motor vehicle thefts reported for every 100,000 people.
It is important to note that in eight states, there is only one eligible metro area with available data. In each of these cases, which are noted, the metro area listed ranks as having the highest motor vehicle theft rate by default only. In two states — Alabama and Pennsylvania — there are no qualifying metro areas with available crime data.
Though each of the metro areas on this list ranks as having the highest motor vehicle rate in its respective state, vehicle theft rates in these places vary considerably, from 38 incidents per 100,000 people to 839 per 100,000. Still, in the majority of the metro areas on this list, vehicle theft rates exceed the statewide rate as well as the national rate of 246 per 100,000.
Motor vehicle theft — along with larceny and burglary — is one of three criminal offenses that make up the property crime category. Due in large part to higher than average vehicle theft rates, in most metro areas on this list, the overall property crime rate exceeds the comparable statewide rate. Here is a look at the 10 most stolen cars in America.