SAN DIEGO — While some crime rates plummeted in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, auto thefts only rose in California, with increases over each of the last two years.
In San Diego County, thieves targeted a specific set of car owners more than any others: Honda drivers. Specifically, people who own older-model Civics and Accords should practice vigilance, according to the district attorney’s Regional Auto Theft Task Force.
The agency recently shared its lists of the top 10 most-stolen cars, motorcycles and trucks with FOX 5. Older Civics and Accords dominated the charts in 2021.
A task force spokesperson told FOX 5 that’s not only because Hondas are so common — thieves also find the older models easier to steal. Police declined to specifically outline why that’s the case, but security measures have certainly improved alongside other technology in newer cars.
Statewide statistics bear out the local trends: The three most-stolen trucks and cars in California were from years 1998 through 2002, according to California Highway Patrol data from 2020. The top three cars were all Honda Civics from varying years.
Here are the most-stolen cars, trucks and motorcycles in San Diego County last year, according to CHP data collected by the task force:
Most-stolen cars in San Diego County, 2021:
Most-stolen trucks in San Diego County, 2021:
Honda’s CR-V, a compact crossover that CHP classifies as a personal truck, tops the list for 2021. It’s followed by traditional pickups: the Chevy Silverado and two of Ford’s trucks.
Most-stolen motorcycles in San Diego County, 2021:
Yamaha and Honda dominated the most-stolen bikes list for the San Diego region last year.
Police had a harder time tracking motorcycles down, as the stats show a much lower rate of recovery. Thieves steal sports bikes and sell them in parts on the black market, according to the task force, which helps explain why fewer riders ever see their beloved motorcycles again.
You can anonymously tip off the Regional Auto Theft Task Force to an illegal “chop shop” or other auto theft activity at 1-888-TELLRAT (5728).
The task force has a helpful stolen car FAQ that includes information unique to San Diego, including how to handle a stolen car ending up in Mexico. In that case, authorities say you’ll have to obtain an official police report from a police agency south of the border and submit it to CHP.
Trying to protect your car? The task force recommends these auto theft prevention tips from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Drivers also have a spate of catalytic converters thefts to worry about. Thieves steal the emissions control devices, located under vehicles, and sell them for the precious metals they contain. Watch FOX 5’s interview with a local mechanic for more on how to protect your vehicle from that crime.