Last year, more than one million vehicles were reported stolen, accounting for an increase of about 1 percent nationwide.

Vehicle thefts increased from 1,008,756 in 2022 to 1,020,729 in 2023, with California accounting for the highest number of vehicle thefts nationwide in 2023 with 208,668 vehicles reported stolen.

To combat the nationwide epidemic, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to identifying, investigating, preventing and deterring insurance fraud and crime, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are raising awareness during National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month to promote education and encourage collaboration between law enforcement and vehicle owners.

“Preventing vehicle theft shouldn’t just fall on law enforcement, because there are basic, common sense steps each of us can take to prevent this crime of opportunity,” said NICB President and CEO David J. Glawe. “It may sound simple, but a surprising number of vehicle thefts occur because owners forget to lock their doors or leave their keys inside. Taking a few seconds to ensure your vehicle is securely locked can significantly reduce its vulnerability to theft. Second, anti-theft devices like steering wheel locks, electronic immobilizers, and numerous aftermarket security systems can serve as effective deterrents against vehicle theft.”

Earlier this year, NICB released a vehicle theft trend analysis, which indicated that the U.S. is still experiencing a surge in vehicle theft rates that started at the onset of the pandemic.

“More than 1 million families a year have their vehicles stolen, and we all pay the price for vehicle theft through rising insurance premiums and law enforcement costs. There are simple steps we can all take to secure our vehicles, including never leaving a vehicle running unattended, and locking your car every time. National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month reminds us to act all year to prevent these crimes of opportunity and safeguard one of the most expensive purchases that families will ever make,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman said.

According to NHTSA, estimates show that approximately one vehicle is stolen every 31 seconds in the United States, which costs vehicle owners more than $8 billion annually.

“By raising awareness, promoting education, fostering collaboration, and leveraging new anti-theft technology, we can work towards reducing vehicle theft rates and create safer communities for Americans across the country,” Glawe said.

The NICB and NHTSA recommend the following tips to help prevent vehicle thefts:

  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors when you park.
  • Hide valuables out of sight, such as in the glove box or trunk.
  • Don’t leave your keys in your vehicle.
  • Don’t leave the area while your vehicle is running.
  • If your vehicle is stolen, call law enforcement and your insurer immediately because reporting a vehicle as soon as possible after it is stolen increases the chance of recovery.