The Dodge Caravan has been replaced as the most-frequently stolen vehicle in Ohio.
After four straight years of being No. 1, the most-frequently stolen vehicle in Ohio last year was Chevrolet’s full-size pickup truck, according to a report released this week by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The Caravan was second.
This year’s report is different from past years’ in that the lists of stolen cars include only the make and model. In previous reports, the year also was included.
The bureau said it made the change to offer a more-varied list than one that focuses on one or two makes year after year.
Nationally, the Honda Accord was the most-often stolen car last year, followed by the Honda Civic and two full-size pickup trucks from Ford and Chevrolet.
Among 2012 models stolen in 2012, the Nissan Altima was first, followed by Chevrolet’s Impala and Malibu, the bureau said.
Thieves, in general, prefer to steal older vehicles for the parts, insurance experts say.
“That’s why they’re more attractive from a theft standpoint,” said Mary Bonelli, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Insurance Institute.
A second factor is that newer models are harder to steal. Starting with the introduction of smart keys in the late 1990s, anti-theft equipment has grown more sophisticated, with devices that can cut off fuel to a car, prevent vehicles from being started and even notify police if a car has been stolen.
Such efforts sent reports of stolen cars tumbling in Ohio and nationally over the last several years until 2012.
In Ohio, the number of stolen cars fell for eight straight years before edging up 1.3 percent last year, according to preliminary FBI figures that show the number rose by 274 vehicles, to 21,342.
Columbus reported a drop of 15 stolen cars to 4,208, the bureau reported. That's about half the 8,397 vehicles stolen in 2004.
Nationally, the number of car thefts also climbed 1.3 percent, pushed up by an increase in thefts in Western states, the report showed.
The increase broke an eight-year streak of declines that had resulted in theft numbers falling to their lowest levels since 1967.
By Mark Williams - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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