Over 720,000 cars were stolen in the United States in 2019, or 220 auto theft for every 100,000 Americans. Those thefts occurred disproportionately in the nation’s urban areas. In some cities, the motor vehicle theft rate was well over 1,000 per 100,000 residents, and in almost every state there was at least one city with a higher rate than the national average.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on property crime FBI’s 2019 Uniform Crime Report identify the American cities with the highest rate of motor vehicle theft – the number of auto theft per 100,000 residents – in each state. In our analysis we considered all the cities, towns, villages and places designated by the census that are home to at least 20,000 people. The most stolen vehicle in the state comes from data collected by insurance analysis group, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, and it’s for 2018.
In general, the cities on this list with the highest motor vehicle theft rates – not just in their state, but nationwide – are found in states with high auto theft rates. However, there are exceptions. Michigan is in the bottom half of states with a motor vehicle theft rate of 178 per 100,000 residents, but Detroit has over 1,000 auto theft per 100,000 residents, one of the highest figures of any major city in the country.
To give more perspective on just how hotspots vehicle theft are some of the cities on this list, 12 cities accounted for over 25% of motor vehicle theft in their state in 2019 and three of the cities on this list accounted for more half of the auto theft in their respective states.
Motor vehicle theft, along with burglary and theft, constitute the broadest category of crimes against property, measured by law enforcement and compiled by the FBI. Motor vehicle theft is the least common of the three. However, many of the cities on this list also rank as those with the highest rates of property crime in their state. While property crime doesn’t necessarily occur in places with high violent crime, many of these cities also have the highest violent crime rates in their state. These are the most dangerous cities in America.