National Crime Report Shows Vehicle Thefts Surged to More than 1 Million in 2023

It was another record-breaking year for vehicle thefts in 2023, with more than one million vehicles were reported stolen – an overall increase of 1% nationwide from 2022 to 1,020,729 last year.

A report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau out on Tuesday shows vehicle theft rates have risen steadily since 2019. California had the highest number of vehicle thefts in 2023 with 208,668 vehicles reported stolen.

The District of Columbia had the highest theft rate across the nation last year with 1,149.71 thefts per 100,000 people, more than three times the national theft rate.

“Criminals are employing increasingly sophisticated methods to steal vehicles, including the use of advanced technology to bypass security systems,” David J. Glawe, president and CEO of NICB, said in a statement. “From keyless entry hacks to relay attacks on key fobs, perpetrators are exploiting vulnerabilities in modern vehicle security measures with alarming success rates. It is critical that industry and law enforcement work together to develop more effective strategies for combating auto theft and safeguarding public safety.”

The top 10 states by theft volume remained consistent in each quarter in 2023. After California, were Texas (115,013) and Florida (46,213) at second and third in thefts by volume. Five of the states in the top 10 theft states by volume also appeared in the top 10 list of states with the highest theft rates: California, Texas, Washington, Colorado and Missouri, the NICB report shows.

Urban centers and densely populated areas remained hotspots for auto theft, with metropolitan regions such as the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area reporting increased incidents compared to suburban or rural areas. The District of Columbia and Maryland each saw a rise in thefts in 2023, with theft percentage increases of more than 60%.

Among the top 10 Core-Based Statistical Areas, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria had the highest theft percentage increase from 2022 to 2023 at 52%.

Of the top 10 CBSAs by theft volume in 2023, Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado had the highest theft percentage decrease from 2022 of -22%. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calofprmoa had the highest number of overall thefts in 2023 with 72,460 vehicles reported as stolen to law enforcement, despite having a slight decrease in thefts from the 72,794 reported in the prior year (-0.5%).