Hondas Top the ‘Hot Wheels' List of Cars Stolen in California

Reflecting nationwide numbers, some model years of the Honda Civic and Accord are popular targets for thieves

Two Honda models were stolen more than any other car in California last year by a wide margin, according to an annual report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau released Wednesday.

The 1998 Honda Civic was No. 1 on the list in California, and the 1996 Honda Accord was a close second. No other vehicle even comes close to matching the two popular imports when it comes to theft reports.

Car thefts are up nationally for the second year in a row, according to the NICB's "Hot Wheels" report, with the Civic and Accord models keeping their spot as the most stolen cars of the year nationwide. More than 50,400 Civics and 49,500 Accords were stolen in 2016. Those two models make up 42 percent of cars stolen last year, many of them older models. 

State-by-state data shows that either of the two Hondas was the most stolen car for many states last year, joined by Chevy and Ford pick-ups and Dodge Caravans. 

NICB, which is not a government agency, notes that the two types of Hondas top the list because many of the most stolen models -- the 1998 Civic or the 1997 Accord -- were released before the addition of "smart keys" that protect against theft. 

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Neither the Civic nor the Accord crack the top 10 for most stolen 2016 model cars. That title goes to the Toyota Camry, whose 2016 model was stolen 1,113 times.


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Tony Zapata said he had his car stolen before and it's not a pleasant experience.

"It's a terrible feeling," said the East Los Angeles resident, where police say most cars are reported stolen. "It's a strange feeling that one day you have the car, then it's gone."

LAPD Detective Stanley Young said stealing cars is a big deal.

"If you take that vehicle from that family, that family now can't go to work, they can't go to the doctor, they can't go to the grocery store, they can't take their kids to school," he said.

Here's a look at the top-10 most-stolen vehicles for 2016 in California.

  • 1. 1998 Honda Civic (26,972)
  • 2. 1996 Honda Accord (25,065)
  • 3. 2004 Chevrolet Full-Size Pickup (7,152)
  • 4. 1991 Toyota Camry (5,196)
  • 5. 2006 Ford Full-Size Pickup (5,193)
  • 6. 1994 Acura Integra (3,579)
  • 7. 2015 Toyota Corolla (3,508)
  • 8. 1999 Honda CR-V (2,944)
  • 9. 1997 Nissan Sentra (2,614)
  • 10. 2015 Nissa Altima (2,599)

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"The increase in vehicle thefts over the past two years should be a reminder that drivers must do their part to protect their vehicles," NICB President Joe Wehrle said in a statement. 

Despite the recent increase, thefts are well below their 1992 peak, according to NICB.

National Insurance Crime Bureau
This graphic shows the car stolen most often in the United States in 2016.

John Cádiz Klemack contributed to this report.

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