When you're making the rounds at the stores this holiday season, make sure your car isn't on someone's gift list. Unattended vehicles, especially those loaded with valuables, make attractive targets for thieves.
New data released today by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) shows a total of 9,600 vehicles were reported stolen in 2015 on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
Holiday vehicle thieves had their busiest day in 2015 on Halloween, stealing 2,238 vehicles according to NICB's 2015 Annual Holiday Vehicle Theft Report. Theft data is culled from the National Crime Information Center's (NCIC) stolen vehicle file, which showed a total of 759,237 vehicle thefts for the year.
After Halloween, New Year's Eve was the next most active holiday with 2,227 thefts. Labor Day came in third with 2,171 thefts followed by Christmas Eve with 2,071 thefts. Memorial Day rounds out the top five holidays for 2015 with 2,040 thefts.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the holidays with the fewest thefts in 2015 were: Christmas Day (1,620); Thanksgiving (1,653); Valentine's Day (1,690); President's Day (1,787) and Independence Day (1,981).
Holidays ranked by the number of thefts in 2015 were:
- Halloween (2,238)
- New Year's Eve (2,227)
- Labor Day (2,171)
- Christmas Eve (2,071)
- Memorial Day (2,040)
- New Year's Day (2,029)
- Independence Day (1,981)
- President's Day (1,787)
- Valentine's Day (1,690)
- Thanksgiving (1,653)
- Christmas Day (1,620)
While the holiday with the most thefts was Halloween, the most thefts on a single day in all of 2015 occurred on Monday, June 15, with 2,579.
A special feature included in today's report is a look at vehicle thefts occurring on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, which is widely viewed as the start of the holiday shopping season. In recent years, many national retailers have launched Black Friday specials on Thanksgiving evening while families may still be carving their turkeys.
The lure of added shopping hours—and the presence of unattended vehicles in store parking lots—may be contributing to higher vehicle thefts on Black Friday.
The following graph shows the number of vehicle thefts reported on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday from 2011 through 2015. There are, on average, over 30 percent more vehicle thefts on Black Friday than the day before. Moreover, the 2,244 thefts on Black Friday in 2015 were more than the 2,080 average daily thefts for the entire year.
|Year||Thanksgiving Day||Black Friday||% Increase|
NICB reminds drivers this holiday season to make sure your vehicle is locked when unattended. Don't leave spare keys or FOBS inside. Take a moment and be sure to hide your valuables from view. Even an empty backpack looks appealing to a thief from the outside.
If stopping at several locations to shop, remember to first store your packages in your trunk before leaving one destination for the next. Thieves are known to watch shoppers who place items in their trunks and then head for the stores—that invites trouble.
See the full holiday vehicle theft report here and an infographic here.