Used Hondas a hot ticket with thieves

Accords from the 1990s top the most-stolen lists in Washington and nationwide.

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If you own a used Honda, keep your eyes on it.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the 1994 Honda Accord was the number-one stolen car in the country last year, followed by the 1995 Honda Civic.

The two vehicles, along with eight others, were on the top-10 list of the "Hot Wheels 2009" put out by the National Insurance Crime Bureau this week.

The same models of Hondas are also prized by auto thieves in Washington state as well, said Darrin Sanger, Northwest Insurance Council communications director. The only difference is the 1992 Honda Accord was the number one vehicle likely to disappear.

While it may seem odd that someone would steal a 15-year-old vehicle, insurers say certain models of older cars and trucks are popular with thieves because of the value of their parts.

"Frequently, the parts can be stripped from a car at a chop shop and sold for at least twice as much as the value of the vehicle on the used car market," Frank Scafidi, NICB spokesman said in a release. "Newer models are also more difficult, but not impossible, to steal thanks to anti-theft technology incorporated by the manufacturers."

The good news is that car thefts, both nationally and in Washington state, appear to be declining.

Last year, 31,681 vehicles were reported stolen in Washington state, a 25-percent drop from 42,251 in 2007, Sanger said.

"That’s an average of 87 stolen vehicles per day and nearly four vehicles an hour. While the decrease in thefts is encouraging for drivers, auto theft is still up 21 percent since 1995," he said in a release.
Nationally, the preliminary 2008 FBI Uniform Crime Report shows that vehicle theft is on pace to record a decrease of 13.1 percent from 2007 numbers, Scafidi said. That would make 2008 the fifth consecutive year of declining vehicle thefts.

"Moreover, if the preliminary figures hold total thefts for 2008 would be below 1 million vehicles — the lowest annual total in over 20 years," he said.

Washington is also a hotbed for car thieves, traditionally ranking high in auto theft over the years, Sanger said. "In fact, Yakima, the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area and Spokane ranked 3rd, 26th and 35th respectively in auto theft rates for 2008."

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.

HOT CARS
WASHINGTON’S TOP 10
For 2008, the most stolen vehicles in Washington state were:
1 — 1992 Honda Accord
2 — 1995 Honda Civic
3 — 1990 Toyota Camry
4 — 1995 Acura Integra
5 — 1994 Nissan Sentra
6 — 1995 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
7 — 1994 Saturn Sl
8 — 1995 Nissan Pathfinder
9 — 1994 Ford Explorer
10 — 1993 Dodge Caravan
(Source: Northwest Insurance Council)
THE NATIONAL TOP 10
For 2008, the most stolen vehicles in the nation were:
1 — 1994 Honda Accord
2 — 1995 Honda Civic
3 — 1989 Toyota Camry
4 — 1997 Ford F-150 Pickup
5 — 2004 Dodge Ram Pickup
6 — 2000 Dodge Caravan
7 — 1996 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
8 — 1994 Acura Integra
9 — 1999 Ford Taurus
10 — 2002 Ford Explorer
(Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau, National Crime Information Center)

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