Tuesday, August 19, 2014

4x4s, pick-ups favored by sportsmen are popular with thieves, too

Some of the most popular go-anywhere motor vehicles for sportsmen are also some of the favored picks of car thieves, too.

And just in Ohio, either, but nationally, as the non-profit National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has just released its preliminary “Hot Wheels” motor vehicle theft data for 2013.

This information – and supplied by Mitch Wilson of the Columbus-based Ohio Insurance Institute -indicates that the Number One stolen motor vehicle in Ohio last year were 1994 full-size Chevrolet pick-up trucks.

To say that such Chevy pick-up trucks are coveted by hunters (especially) but also by anglers who need a good tow vehicle.

Owners of full-size Ford pick-up trucks ought not to become too smug. In Ohio last year, the Ford’s 2004 full-size pick-up truck ranked as the third most stolen motor vehicle.

Likewise, Ford’s 2002 Explorer was a favored flavor of both sportsmen and thieves. For 2013 this vehicle brand and model year ranked ninth on Ohio’s most-stolen motor vehicle list.  All, in spite of the Explorer having a reputation for being something of a gas-thirsty lush, too.

The Jeep badge didn’t exactly come across as a vehicle that thieves desired to avoid in 2013. Far from it, to be precise, and if you want to really know the low-down on this series of 4x4 vehicles.

Last year in Ohio the 1998 model year for the Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee was Number Four on the list. It is sandwiched between the previously mentioned full-size Ford pick-up truck and the 1996 Buick Century.

Nationally, Wilson says, the rankings are mostly shuffled a bit in a shell game as to the various vehicles’ popularity with car thieves.

Again, nationally in 2013 the third most stolen vehicle - and regardless of model year-  was Chevrolet’s full-size pick-up truck. In all and nationally last year a total of 27,809 Chevy full-size pick-ups were hot-wired, never again to be seen by their lawful owners.

Right behind at Number Four was Ford’s full-size pick-up truck. Nationally last year, thieves drove away 26,494 full-size Ford pick-up trucks.

Dodge’s full-size pick-up trucks get to share some of the snatched vehicle limelight, unfortunately. Last year car thieves made off with 11,347 such models.

I’m not sure if owners of Jeep-branded Cherokee/Grand Cherokee should be glad or embarrassed by this next bit of news. Owners of this up-scale series of Jeeps can take note that in 2013 9,272 such vehicles were stolen, ranking the series as Number Eight nationally in motor vehicles high-jacked by car thieves.

However, more soccer mom Dodge Caravans were stolen nationally than were the status-symbol and countrified, bling-detailed Jeep Cherokees. For the record, nationally last year thieves hustled off with 10,911 Dodge Caravans.

Of course, many hunters and anglers do appreciate the Caravan’s spacious interior which can haul everything from one of Ohio’s acclaimed monster bucks to a boat load of fishing poles, apparatus, and even an outboard engine. So long as the car gets cleaned out in time for the kids’ soccer game, of course.

As for where vehicles are most likely to be purloined Ohio, the score is not even close as last year 2,008 motor vehicles were pilfered from Cleveland streets and driveways. Also, NICB’s Elyria-to-Cleveland Metropolitan Statistical Area is being ranked 52nd nationally in terms of total stolen vehicles in 2013.

A distant second was Akron with 303 such thefts in 2013; and hardly a blip on NCIB’s statistical ranking for stolen vehicles and ranking just 229th.

To close things out, a quick state-by-state review of popularly stolen vehicles clearly demonstrate a demand for pick-ups and SUVs in states typically seen as being rural with a decided bent to appealing to outdoorsy types like hunters and anglers.

View the data for states such as Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Texas, North and South Dakota, and Wyoming all point toward thieves coveting vehicles high on off-road or hunter/angling-hauling capabilities.

Meanwhile, car thieves in such Yuppie states as Rhode Island, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, and Hawaii all seem to go for the poodle-carrying models like Honda Accords, Nissan Altimas, Toyota Corollas, and (I’m not making this up, either) Subaru Legacys.

Mercifully even thieves seem to shun the Toyota Prius. This status symbol of the Hollywood elite and the Ralph Nader Greenies thankfully was nowhere to be found.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

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