The cars most likely to be stolen in NJ this summer
It's summertime — and that means an increased risk your car could get stolen, experts say.
It turns out there are more vehicle thefts during July than any other month of the year.
“Thieves are like most people. They tend to do their outdoor work when the weather is nice,” said Carol Kaplan, the east coast director of public affairs for the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
However, she was quick to add many vehicle thefts happen at other times as well.
“All through the year we need to be aware of the possibility of car theft,” she said. “New Year’s Day is a very big one with car thieves, but car thefts also tend to pick up around the Fourth of July, and other times when people may be distracted, out of their daily routines.
Will your car be targeted by thieves?
According to Kaplan, the cars most frequently stolen in New Jersey during 2014, the most recent year data is available, were:
1. The 1997 Honda Accord
2. The 1997 Honda Civic
3. The 2002 Dodge Caravan
4. The 2000 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee
5. The 2006 full-sized Ford Pickup
6. The 1997 Nissan Sentra
7. The 1997 Nissan Altima
8. The 2011 Toyota Camry
9. The 1997 Nissan Maxima
10. The 2003 Ford Econoline e250
She said several of these frequently stolen cars tend to be older model vehicles “because the older model cars are easier to break into because they don’t have all the high tech anti theft equipment that newer cars do."
Kaplan added in most cases the vehicles that are stolen are not being driven around.
“Because those cars like the Nissans and the Hondas tend to last a really long time, there’s always demand for replacement parts,” she said. “They’re being stolen to be broken down into parts.”
She said when luxury cars are stolen, especially SUVs, they may be shipped to other countries to be sold on the black market. The Mercedes, BMW and Land Rover SUVs are the ones that tend to be shipped overseas because “they’re unavailable in certain parts of the world and can be sold for double or triple what they cost in the United States.”
How many cars are stolen in New Jersey every year?
According to the New Jersey State Police Uniform Crime report, there were 11,702 motor vehicle thefts reported in 2014, a decrease of 15 percent compared to the 13,709 in 2013.
The total value of stolen motor vehicles amounted to $104 million during that year.
The average value of a stolen motor vehicle was $8,922.
So what should you do to prevent your car from being stolen?
“I know this sounds silly but it’s the absolute truth: lock your car. Somewhere around half of all vehicle thefts are because somebody got forgetful and left their car open,” Kaplan said. “You never want to leave your car unlocked with the keys in it, so don’t leave your car running when you run into a convenience store and you just want to leave the air conditioning on, that’s not a good idea.”
Kaplan added if your vehicle doesn’t have anti-theft equipment installed, think about getting something as an add-on.
“Something as simple as the club or lo-jack can make a difference,” she said. “Someone stealing a car doesn’t want to spend a lot of time sawing through a 'club; on the steering wheel."
She said the best way to hang onto your vehicle is to always:
• Lock your car
• Put a lock like The Club on the steering wheel
• Get an audible alarm
• Park in a well-lit area or a locked garage.
“When you add so many layers, and you make it so difficult, they’re going to pick somebody else’s car,” she said.
However even if you follow all of these suggestions, your car might still be swiped.
“Even with the newest anti-theft devices in vehicles, we are seeing thieves develop high tech ways to steal vehicles, so nothing is fool-proof,” Kaplan said. “Even though the auto industry and the insurance industry are constantly working on ways to keep cars from being stolen, the thieves are always out there getting creative.”
More from New Jersey 101.5: