Last year National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), an insurance watchdog organization, shared findings that indicate a nationwide increase in vehicle thefts was triggered by the high value of auto parts.
FBI published their most current Uniform Crime Report (2017) which noted a 4.1 percent overall increase in the motor vehicle theft category. In some states, the increase of car thefts far exceeds even the national average. For example, Oregon frequently experiences 42% more stolen automobiles than all other U.S. states.
But how did the NICB conclude that the rise in stolen vehicles is related to the rising value of auto parts?
The Price for Parts
Jim Schweitzer, NICB Senior Vice President and COO, says stealing and stripping vehicles for parts has always been lucrative for professional theft rings. However, today’s cars and trucks have parts that may be worth even more than the intact vehicle.
Obviously chop shops are able to better cover their crimes by dismantling vehicles and grinding off any identifiers like the VIN. However, there is also a big fiscal benefit to removing the easiest parts like hoods, doors, bumpers, and headlights. These types of parts come with the biggest illegal payout.
NICB evaluated the replacement costs for some of the most frequently stolen models which helped lead them to better understand why thefts were up.
The organization looked at the average parts pricing listed in an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) database. The figures included there are based on 24 Million insurance claims and their corresponding accident appraisals.
NICB’s discovery was quite surprising when you consider the actual market value of many vehicles is only slightly more than a few dozen of its parts.
These Frequently Stolen Cars Equal a Big Payout
Perhaps the best illustration of how car thieves are benefiting from their crimes is the 2016 GMC Sierra Pickup.
GMC Sierra Pickup
The stylish truck retails used for $28,230 but 75 percent of the vehicle’s value comes from just nine parts.
Here’s the 2016 GMC Sierra pricing breakdown NICB put together:
So thieves take the Sierra, tear it apart, and make a healthy profit with less than a dozen components.
NICB published similar findings for other automobiles frequently stolen, including the 2016 Toyota Camry and 2016 Nissan Altima.
The Toyota Camry has been a common target of criminals for decades. You can see why when you review the value of its easily removed parts.
The 2016 Camry’s used market pricing is $15,438 but 69% of the value comes from about nine parts.
According to the NICB review, the 2016 Toyota Camry parts are priced as follows:
The Nissan Altima is another vehicle that often makes the top ten list of most stolen automobiles.
And also like the Camry, 69% of the Nissan’s total value is based on nine basic parts.
According to the NICB review, the used market value of a 2016 Nissan Altima breaks down like so:
Most people assume thieves are interested in flashy sports cars and stylish SUVs for a thrill ride or to resell somewhere down the road. The average American may not even realize that car thefts are on the rise. In fact, car owners may be entirely shocked to discover criminals often strike simply because of the $3,047 doors on their Toyota Camry.