Monday, September 20, 2010
WALLA WALLA - Older Hondas are hot. Just ask any car thief.
The 1992 Honda Accord and the 1995 Honda Civic had the dubious honor of being the most-stolen cars in Washington state last year. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Accord was the number one choice for thieves while the Civic was number two.
The number three most-stolen car was 1990 Toyota Camry followed by the 1995 Acura Integra. All four were at the top of 2008's list of most-stolen vehicles as well, the insurance bureau reported.
Why would somebody heist an 18-year old car instead of a snazzy new model?
"We're told that many of these vehicles are simply easier to steal," said Darrin Sanger, communications director for the Northwest Insurance Council. "The more time it takes a thief to break into a vehicle, the less likely he or she is to successfully steal it."
Older cars also lack anti-theft devices like alarms and key codes found on newer vehicles, making them more desirable targets, Sanger said. Yet another reason is that many cars 1995 and older are stolen for their parts, which sold separately can bring in more money than the vehicle itself.
The older-model Accord, Civic and Camry were the top three most-stolen cars nationally as well, according to the insurance crime bureau. A pickup truck, the venerable 1997 Ford F-150, came in as the fourth most-stolen vehicle in the nation.
The good news this year is that vehicle theft in Washington state dropped nearly 16 percent from the 2008 total, from 31,681 to 26,684. But that was still an average of 73 vehicles stolen per day, or about three per hour, according to insurers.
Tips to preventing theft are simple, Sanger said. Keep doors locked and windows rolled up and remove the keys from the ignition, even when briefly stepping away from the car. Park in well-lit areas and keep valuable items such as purses, cell phones and briefcases out of sight. And, if the vehicle has an alarm, activate it.
Washington state's most-stolen vehicles in 2009
Most-stolen vehicles in 2009 nationally
(Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau)