Special Report

US Towns Where the Motor Vehicle Theft Rate Is Soaring

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, up 12% from the previous year and the most in over a decade. 

Motor vehicle theft can be either the theft or attempted theft of a vehicle, such as a car or ATV. Some experts attribute the rising rates of vehicle theft to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to vehicles sitting unattended and unused for longer stretches than usual. Here is a look at the 10 most stolen cars in America

The country’s rising rates of motor vehicle theft are being led by surges in some American towns.

Using data from the FBI’s 2020 Uniform Crime Report, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 50 towns where vehicle theft is rising fastest. Towns – defined as places with populations between 2,500 and 25,000 – are ranked by the year-over-year change in the number of reported vehicle thefts per 100,000 people in 2020. Among the towns on this list, the vehicle theft rate climbed anywhere from 252 incidents per 100,000 people to 1,629 per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, the national motor vehicle theft rate climbed by 25 incidents per 100,000 people in 2020. 

Vehicle theft – along with larceny and burglary – is one component of the overall property crime category. Partially due to rising rates of vehicle theft, most of the towns on this list also reported an increase in the overall property crime rate in 2020. Here is a look at the cities where property crime is soaring. 

The largest share of towns that reported the greatest increases in vehicle thefts per capita are in the West, including 11 in California alone. Every town on this list has a higher motor vehicle theft rate than the national rate of 246 per 100,000 people.

Click here to see the towns where the motor vehicle theft rate is soaring
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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