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New Years Day - A Car Thief's Favorite Holiday?

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author photo by Autotrader December 2010

Although you may be resting and relaxing on New Year’s Day, car thieves aren’t. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), New Year’s Day was the leading holiday for vehicle thefts in 2009, the most recent year for which data was available.

Released on Tuesday, the NICB study found that among the 11 holidays reviewed, Christmas Day had by far the lowest number of car thefts, with just 1,336 reported. Thanksgiving was 2009’s second-safest holiday for car thefts, with just 1,620 reported. Meanwhile, New Year’s Day’s 2,760 reported thefts edged out Halloween, which came in second with 2,325 cars stolen.

“While Americans are enjoying the holidays and most have time off from work, we need to remember that holidays are just another day at the shop for vehicle thieves,” cautioned the NICB in a press release. “Although vehicle thefts have been declining for six consecutive years – with preliminary 2010 FBI theft data pointing to a seventh year – we must maintain our vigilance. There is always a black market for items obtained by theft, and vehicles remain popular theft targets.”

With more than 1 million auto thefts annually in the United States, it appears that nearly anyone can be a target. But the NICB says that some Americans make thefts too easy on the thieves. In a 2007 survey conducted by the group, one-third of respondents admitted to leaving a car while it was running, making the vehicle an easy target for theft. Additionally, 47 percent admitted to not always parking in well-lit areas, with 40 percent stating they don’t hide valuables within their cars including purses, bank statements, or mail.

Of course, your chances of being a victim of car theft also depend on where you live. The NICB recently gave Laredo, Texas, the dubious distinction of being the American city with the highest rate of motor vehicle theft, placing Bakersfield, California, and Modesto, California, second and third.

What you drive can also influence your chances of being a victim of auto theft. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, cars with the highest theft rate include the Cadillac Escalade, Ford F-250, Infiniti G37 coupe, Dodge Charger, and Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Least-stolen cars include the Subaru Forester, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and Buick Rainier.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
New Years Day - A Car Thief's Favorite Holiday? - Autotrader