Pickup trucks are very popular in Texas according to sales and registration data which shows that one-in-five pickup trucks in the U.S. are either sold or registered in Texas.
Pickup trucks are equally as popular with car thieves according to data from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.
With nearly a 100,000 cars and trucks stolen in Texas each year, the top three most often stolen (in order) are Ford, Chevrolet and Ram (Dodge) pickup trucks from full size to heavy duty models.
GMC brand pickups are number seven on the list of ten most often stolen.
The rest of the ten most often stolen are:
- #4 Honda Civic
- #5 Chevrolet Tahoe
- #6 Honda Accord
- #8 Toyota Camry
- #9 Ford Taurus
- #10 Chevrolet Impala
It doesn't matter what kind of car you drive, all vehicles are a potential target of theft. With nearly 100,000 cars and trucks being stolen in the state of Texas each year, there are also thousands more that are burglarized.
Almost half of all vehicles stolen had the keys left inside, but securing your keys does not always prevent theft of the your vehicle.
According to the State of Texas, following these tips will help you hold on to your prized car or truck.
- Hide your valuables. Items in the open make your car a bigger target.
- Take your keys and never leave a second set in your vehicle. Twenty percent of stolen vehicles had keys inside them, making the theft even easier.
- Lock your car. Almost half of all vehicles stolen were left unlocked.
- Park in well-lit or heavily-trafficked areas. Thieves do not like witnesses. Find an attended lot or garage if possible.
- Give parking attendants the ignition key only. Keep your trunk and glove box locked at all times. If possible, get separate keys for the ignition and the trunk and glove box
- Never leave your car running unattended. Cars are often stolen at convenience stores, gas stations or when an owner leaves the vehicle running to warm it up.
- Install an anti-theft device. Many insurance companies may give you a discount for certain anti-theft devices. Check with your agent for details.
The good news is that Texas reports that nearly 55% of stolen cars and trucks are recovered.
However, the largest number of those have are recovered after having been ravaged for parts that can be resold to unscrupulous repair operations.
Which leads to the bad news that, typically, those vehicles are essentially junk and worthless when recovered.
And to make matters worse, here in Texas, a large number of crew cab and heavy duty trucks are stolen to be taken into Mexico and then used to transport human and drug contraband back into the U.S. on a one-way basis.
These trucks offer cargo capacity, back road capability and perfect camouflage running along with the many pickup trucks on the roads of Texas. In most cases the truck is abandoned and often burned when the contraband has been delivered.
However, many stolen vehicles (including trucks) are sold to unsuspecting buyers in Texas. If you knowingly buy a stolen car, you can be arrested. If you buy a stolen car unknowingly, you could lose the car and your money.
To avoid becoming the car thief's second victim, keep these tips in mind:
- When buying from a private individual, make sure the title and registration match the name and address of the person selling the car.
- Be cautious of a seller with no fixed address, place of employment or phone number.
- Ask the seller for references about past financing and insurance on the vehicle. Verify the information with the bank, finance company or agent.
- Ensure the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the automobile's dash is present, secure and unaltered.
- Check to ensure the VIN plate has not been repainted and the numbers stamped in the plate appear to be the original factory numbers.
- If in doubt about plate authenticity, check with a new car dealer who handles the same model, or contact a law enforcement agency. (Thieves may remove the VIN plate and replace it with one from a similar wrecked vehicle.)
- Remember the old axiom that if the deal is too good to be true - it probably is.