NICB Reports Vehicle Theft On The Rise

By Jeffery Bellant March 20, 2023
Americas favorite truck is also the countries most stolen vehicle, the Ford F-150 takes top spot on the NICB’s list of the most stolen vehicles in the U.S. Americas favorite truck is also the countries most stolen vehicle, the Ford F-150 takes top spot on the NICB’s list of the most stolen vehicles in the U.S.

The National Crime Insurance Bureau is offering updates regarding the rising crime affecting the auto industry. From auto theft to widespread swiping of catalytic converters, the challenges for businesses have been daunting. Vehicle crime is certainly still a major issue across the nation and there are many reasons for this. NICB data does not point to one specific trend to attribute to the rise in vehicle crime. Many criminals steal vehicles to commit other crimes, and sometimes vehicles end up in chop shops, get shipped overseas, or cross the border into Mexico.  

These thefts are currently considered property crimes, so there is very little deterrent effect. NICB believes it is critical to re-invest in law enforcement, support community engagement and policing programs, and implement early intervention programs to help reduce crime. 

Caught on camera stealing catalytic converters.  

Over one million vehicles were stolen nationwide in 2022,” said NICB President and CEO, David J. Glawe. “States that saw the largest increase in vehicle thefts were Illinois (up 35%), Washington (31%), and New York (23%). “Organized gangs and juveniles steal vehicles and use them to facilitate other crimes. To stop this lawless behavior, we must re-invest in our law enforcement partners, support community engagement and policing programs, and implement successful early intervention programs for at-risk youth.”

The 5 most stolen vehicles in 2021 according to NICB data:

  • In 2019, the Ford pickup truck took the top spot, with almost 39,000 reported thefts. The 2006 model year has the highest reported thefts among the Ford Pickup.
  • The Honda Civic is the second most stolen vehicle, with over 30,000 thefts reported in 2019, and the 2000 model year proving to be the most desirable.
  • Rounding out the top five most stolen cars are the full-size Chevrolet pickup truck, the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.


The iconic 27-foot-long hot dog on wheels had its catalytic converter stolen in Las Vegas during a promotional tour last year.  


Catalytic converter theft continues to be a major issue across the country. These thefts increased dramatically in 2021, and NICB noted 52,206 thefts in 2021, an increase of 1,215% since 2019, and up 203% since 2020. As a note, our data is not a reporting of all cat converter thefts nationally. In 2023, NICB would anticipate at least 11 states to introduce new legislation to either establish new regulations on scrapyards, strengthen current regulations, increase penalties, and/or address problems identified with recently enacted laws. The 11 states NICB anticipates seeing legislation are: Idaho, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, and Wyoming.

NICB sampled member company claims data to identify catalytic converter theft trends. Its analysis is not a reporting of all thefts.

As it pertains to catalytic converter thefts, the following are the top 5 states for thefts:

  1. California 
  2. Texas
  3. Washington
  4. North Carolina
  5. Minnesota

California reported the most catalytic converter thefts in 2021, accounting for 37% of all cat converter thefts. NICB data shows a strong correlation between catalytic converter theft trends and the value of the precious metals. Catalytic converters contain high-value precious metals, specifically rhodium, palladium, and platinum. The values of these metals have skyrocketed and currently are averaging:

  • Rhodium: $10,700
  • Palladium: $1,568
  • Platinum: $1,010
NICB President David J. Glawe.

Though the value of the metals contained in catalytic converters is high, thieves will often receive $50-to-$250 per catalytic converter they turn in to recycling facilities.

Typically, thefts of catalytic converters tend to be from bigger vehicles like large pickups and delivery vehicles. These trucks are targeted due to higher clearance and therefore easier to get to the catalytic converter. These vehicles are often used as fleet vehicles, which often attract thieves as company trucks are usually stored in yards and are left unattended overnight allowing a criminal to go in and remove a few in very short order. Hybrids are also a major target as these vehicles contain two catalytic converters as well as the fact that as a hybrid, these converters tend to see less wear and (corrosion) than those of other vehicles with equal miles, and therefore more valuable to thieves.

In the past two years, 32 states (22 states in 2022 & 10 states in 2021, Indiana both years) have enacted new laws or amended their current laws to combat catalytic converter theft. Some states already had great laws on the books prior to 2021. The states without any laws can be a problem, but thankfully this number continues to drop.

At the federal level, Congressman Jim Baird (Indiana) introduced the “Preventing Auto Recycling Theft Act.” This act is intended to reduce catalytic converter thefts by marking identifying information on the converters, addressing how the parts are purchased, and strengthening enforceability of catalytic converter theft for local law enforcement.  The National Insurance Crime Bureau worked closely with Congressman Baird in the development of this legislation and supports the Preventing Auto Recycling Theft Act.




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Last modified on Tuesday, 21 March 2023 11:05