Cities With the Most Stolen Cars in America
For every car owner, one of the biggest concerns is car theft. In a world where cars are essential in our daily lives, becoming a victim of car theft is almost unthinkable. While more and more vehicles are coming out with sophisticated security systems, but none of that has really helped the rising number of car thefts each year.
And it’s not just older models that are getting stolen. While older models of Ford and Chevy pickups are often among most stolen motor vehicles, as well as the popular the Honda Civic, you may be surprised to find that newer Toyota Corolla and Jeep Cherokee models have also made it into the mix. In reality, anyone can be a vehicle of auto theft, depending on just how savvy the criminal is.
According to The National Insurance Crime Bureau, 1,001,967 vehicles were stolen in 2022 - a number that has risen over 25% since 2019. Of course, some places are worse than others.
That being said, you may be wondering: which places are the worst when it comes to motor vehicle theft? Combining data 2021 and 2022 data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, we’ve come up with a list of Cities with the Most Stolen Cars in America. These cities have been shown to be among the worst victims of car theft. No matter where in America you are, you’ll want to check out this list. And don’t forget to lock your car!
Salt Lake City, UT
Salt Lake City in Utah is comprised of a population of 1,232,696 residents. For every 100,000 residents in the area, there are 542 motor vehicle thefts, making it one of the biggest victims of grand theft auto. Its car theft rate is in fact 60% greater than state’s average as well.
Utah doesn’t have a huge history of car theft but its 10,288 thefts in 2020 are not unremarkable either. Considered in our rankings are statistics from 2021 to 2022. All in all, the currently high number of thefts per capita is no small number to ignore.
Kansas City, MO
Missouri is no stranger to car theft, having had 24,189 reported cases in 2020, but its worst city by far is Kansas City. The Kansas City, Missouri metropolitan statistical area suffers from an average car theft rate that’s 34% greater than state average.
With a population of about 2,157,990, the car theft rate is pretty high. There are 545 car thefts for every 100,000 residents, which easily makes it one of the biggest victims of car theft in the country. That’s not too surprising though when you consider the fact that the chances of property crime in the city are 1 in 23.
San Jose, CA
San Jose is the first California city on our list of cities with the most stolen cars in America. California had 168,323 vehicle thefts in 2020, which rose to 201,034 in 2021. By 2022, thefts had increased by 1%, amounting to a total of 202,685 stolen motor vehicles.
San Jose, in 2022, had the 10th most motor vehicle thefts per capita. The San Jose metropolitan statistical area had 551 thefts for every 100K residents. And considering that the city has over 1 million people, that’s a lot of victims of car theft.
Oklahoma may not have the highest reported cases of car theft, but it still has a pretty significant number compared to other states, having had 15,047 cases in 2020 and 14,325 in 2021. With that said, Tulsa, Oklahoma turns out to be the city with the highest number of car thefts in the state.
Boasting a population of 998,626, we are talking about a lot of victims in the Tulsa metropolitan area. In 2022, there were 552 reported car thefts for every 100,000 residents, which is on the high side. On top of this, it’s 39% greater than state average.
Apparently, people mess with Texas a lot more than we’ve been led to believe – messing with their cars, at least. Texas has had a history of having a high number of car thefts in the state. Apparently, all that open land is making car thefts a lot easier to get away with.
In 2021, there were 95,082 reported cases of car theft, and in 2022, 105,015 cases – an increase of 10 percent. Odessa, Texas was the metropolitan area with the most reported cases, having had 664 thefts for every 100K residents. It ranked fourth in the entire country. While it has a population of only 166,223 residents, its 59% higher than the state average.
Yuba City, CA
The state of California ranked number one among the top states with the most number of vehicle thefts from 2021 to 2022, so naturally, a few cities made it among the top 10 - the first of which is Yuba City. Located in Northern California, Yuba City has a population of just 70,117, which makes this statistic that much more astonishing.
In the entire statistical area, which also includes Sutter, there are around 164,138 people. For every 100,000 persons in the metropolitan statistical area, there were reportedly 578.68 motor vehicle thefts in 2021. For 2022, Yuba ranked second among the top 10 cities with the most car thefts per capita, with 724 thefts for every 100K residents.
Seattle, Washington, a part of the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area, had a theft rate of 582.47 per every 100K persons, which is why it ranks on our list of cities with the most number of car thefts. It ranked number 9 that year, and while it doesn’t rank in the top 10 for 2022, the numbers are still high.
Seattle saw an average of about 19 motor vehicles stolen every day, which amounts to almost 7,000 vehicles stolen that year. The metropolitan statistical area has over 4 million living within, while the city itself has over 737K residents. Although Yakima showed worse statistics for 2022, Seattle hasn’t shown great improvement.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a part of the Milwaukee-Waukesha metropolitan statistical area with a population of 1,575,179, had a motor vehicle theft rate of 345 for every 100K residents. This was a whopping 66% higher than the entire state average. While it didn’t rank among the top 10 cities in the country for 2022, it had in 2021.
In the year 2021, Milwaukee-Waukesha fared much worse with a rate nearly double that. The statistical area had a car theft rate of 597.83 per every 100K residents, which made it rank number eight in the country. That being said, its declining vehicle theft rate is definitely a good sign for city of Milwaukee.
Billings, Montana ranked 7th among the top 10 cities with the most motor vehicle thefts in 2021. The statistical area had a car theft rate of 611.11 for every 100K residents. In 2022, Billings dropped down to the eighth spot with a slight improvement in its car theft rate.
Billings had 565 car thefts for every 100K residents. With a population of 181,667, it didn’t have a tremendously high number of crimes but the city’s car theft rate was still 41% greater than the state’s average and the rate was still much higher than much of the country as a whole.
San Francisco, CA
The city of San Francisco is another California area rife with car thefts. The San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley metropolitan area had a rate of 675.86 thefts for every 100,000 residents in the year 2021. For 2022, San Francisco only showed marginal improvement with 655 car thefts for every 100,000 residents.
With a population of 808,437 residents, the city of San Francisco is the fourth most populated in the entire state. The metropolitan statistical area, meanwhile, is home to 4,749,008 people, making the number of incidents fairly huge when you consider the entire population.
The state of Oregon didn’t make the top 10 states with the greatest number of car thefts, but Portland, Oregon did make it among the top 10 cities in 2021 – not that that’s a good thing. The statistical area of Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro had a theft rate of 680.20 for every 100,000 residents in 2021.
For 2022, Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro Oregon’s stats dropped to 490 for every 100K persons. With a population of 2,492,412, the number of car thefts is still quite high, considering. Fortunately, it missed ranking in the top 10 this year, giving hope for drivers in the future. But still keep your cars locked Portlanders!
New Mexico was fortunate enough to have not made it among the top 10 states with the most number of motor vehicle thefts from 2021-2022, but the city of Albuquerque was of no help in that regard. Albuquerque, New Mexico had 710.58 thefts for every 100K residents in 2021.
Then in 2022, there were 632 thefts for every 100K residents, which helped the city drop from down from fourth to sixth. Nevertheless, Albuquerque ranks among the top cities with the most stolen cars in America. With a population of 918,018, that’s a high number of victims. Its stats are also 43% greater than the state average.
The state of Colorado ranked 5th among the top 10 states with the most number of motor vehicle thefts. With 42,237 thefts in 2022, the state saw a 10 percent increase from the previous year when there were 38,570 thefts. Among the cities in the state, Pueblo, Colorado has had the highest number of thefts in 2021 and 2022.
In 2021, the Pueblo metropolitan statistical area ranked third with a theft rate of 891.39 for every 100,000 residents. Number in 2022 had improved slightly with only 602 motor vehicle thefts for every 100K residents but the city still ranks among the top 10, this time ranking 7th.
Denver, Colorado has a population of just around 711,463 but among the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metropolitan statistical area, we are actually talking about a population of nearly 3 million people. For every 100,000 residents there were 706 thefts in 2022. This makes Denver’s vehicle theft stats 45% greater than state average.
In 2021, Denver’s theft rate was even higher. In that year, there were 964.92 thefts for every 100,000 residents, which means that nearly 1% of its residents were victims of auto theft. While the numbers have dropped from 2021, authorities still have a lot of work to do to keep Denver out of the top 10.
Bakersfield, California, holds its record as the number one city for the greatest number of car thefts per capita. For 2021, there was a theft rate of 1,023.68 incidents for every 100,000 people, which means that over 1% of the population had their car stolen in Bakersfield that year.
Statistics in 2022 were not much better. For every 100,000 residents, there were 905 automobile thefts. While that statistic is somewhat improved, it was still 53% greater than state average. On top of that, given that the population is 900,202, we’re talking about over 8K victims of vehicle theft!