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State Rankings: Vehicle thefts surged nationwide in 2023

While some regions witnessed a decline in vehicle theft rates, others experienced a notable uptick

Oak Brook, Ill.—Vehicle thefts continue to surge nationwide, challenging vehicle owners and law enforcement agencies hoping to curb this growing crime trend. A new report released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) shows another record-breaking year for vehicle thefts in 2023.

Last year, more than one million vehicles were reported stolen and overall vehicle thefts increased about 1 percent nationwide from 1,008,756 in 2022 to 1,020,729 in 2023. Vehicle theft rates have risen steadily since 2019. California accounted for the highest number of vehicle thefts nationwide in 2023 with 208,668 vehicles reported stolen. The District of Columbia had the highest theft rate across the nation in 2023 with 1,149.71 thefts per 100,000 people, which is over three times the national theft rate.

“Criminals are employing increasingly sophisticated methods to steal vehicles, including the use of advanced technology to bypass security systems,” said David J. Glawe, President and CEO of NICB. “From keyless entry hacks to relay attacks on key fobs, perpetrators are exploiting vulnerabilities in modern vehicle security measures with alarming success rates. It is critical that industry and law enforcement work together to develop more effective strategies for combating auto theft and safeguarding public safety.”

NICB partners with state and federal law enforcement agencies to disrupt criminal networks and help recover stolen vehicles for member companies. It also participates in federal, state and local task forces, fusion centers, and intelligence groups to deter vehicle theft and works strategically with lawmakers and regulators in all 50 states to boost efforts by insurers and law enforcement to fight crime trends like rising vehicle thefts.

Key findings from the NICB report include Vehicle Theft Hotspots. While some regions witnessed a decline in vehicle theft rates, others experienced a notable uptick. Urban centers and densely populated areas remained hotspots for auto theft, with metropolitan regions such as the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area reporting increased incidents compared to suburban or rural areas. The District of Columbia and Maryland each saw a drastic rise in thefts in 2023, with theft percentage increases of 64% and 63%, respectively.

 Top 10 States by Percent Increase
#StatePercent Change2022 to 2023
1District of Columbia64%
7New York15%
10Louisiana, North Carolina, & Tennessee10%

“Addressing the rising tide of vehicle thefts demands collaborative partnerships involving law enforcement agencies, government bodies, automotive manufacturers, and the community at large,” Glawe said. “The repercussions of vehicle theft extend beyond financial losses, causing significant distress and inconvenience for affected individuals. Beyond the financial burden of replacing stolen vehicles and repairing damages, victims often endure emotional stress and disruption to their daily routines.”

The top 10 states by volume have remained consistent in each quarter in 2023. After California, Texas and Florida were ranked the second and third in thefts by volume with 115,013 and 46,213 stolen vehicles reported, respectively. Five of the states included in the top 10 theft states by volume also appeared in the top 10 list of states with the highest theft rates: California, Texas, Washington, Colorado, and Missouri.

 Top 10 States by Volume
#State2023 Theft
7New York32,715

Among the top 10 Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSA), Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV had the highest theft percentage increase from 2022 to 2023 at 52 percent. Of the top 10 CBSAs by theft volume in 2023, Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., had the highest theft percentage decrease from 2022 of -22.  Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif., had the highest number of overall thefts in 2023 with 72,460 vehicles reported as stolen to law enforcement, despite having a slight decrease in thefts from the 72,794 reported in the prior year (-0.5%

Top 10 CBSAs by Volume

#CBSA2023 Thefts% Change
2022 to 2023
1Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA72,460-0.5%
2San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA40,97728%
3Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI36,2729%
4Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX35,1197%
5Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX34,13513%
6New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA33,5966%
7Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA31,3282%
8Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO24,489-22%
9Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV24,11952%
10Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD23,33919%

The National Insurance Crime Bureau also compiled the data for theft rates from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for each of the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas. The NICB report analyzes the number of thefts per 100,000 residents, which allows it to compare different regions’ theft patterns despite population differences. The District of Columbia, Nevada, and Maryland each ranked within the top 10 theft states by theft rate as well as the top 10 states by theft percentage increase.  

Top 10 States by Theft Rate

#State2023 Thefts Per 100,000 People
1District of Columbia1,149.71
6New Mexico489.67

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