Are You Driving a Thief Magnet?

The Honda Civic has once again topped the list of the most popular vehicle for car thieves, according to a list compiled by the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

1999 Honda Civic SiR 2-door tops the list of the most frequently stolen vehicles.

The 1999 and 2000 Honda Civic SiR 2-door was the most frequently stolen vehicle for the third year in a row.

Following the top two models was the 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX/WRX STi 4-door, which also “won” the number one spot on the highest theft claims costs list.

Richard Dubin of the Insurance Bureau of Canada told Canada AM on Wednesday that these vehicles are popular with auto thieves because they all lack an approved electronic immobilizer.

“You’ve got cars like the (Acura) Integra, the (Audi) Quattro, the (Subaru) Impreza and the (Honda) Civic – these are cars that are sporty and desirable, so if they’re easy to steal they’re going to take them,” Dubin said.

An electronic immobilizer requires a special key or small electronic device to start a vehicle’s engine.

When activated, it shuts off one or more parts of the engine’s electrical system. This might include the starter, ignition or fuel system. The device disarms when an authorized security code is received from a transponder during an attempt to start the engine.

Three Dodge Caravans made the top 10 list. Dubin said these vehicles are popular because they are easy to strip and sell for parts.

“Recyclers or wreckers are stealing them in order to sell their transmissions and engines because these cars are 13 or 14 years old and they need replacement parts,” he said.

The Top 10 stolen vehicles are:

  1. 1999 Honda Civic SiR 2-door
  2. 2000 Honda Civic SiR 2-door
  3. 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX/WRX STi 4-door AWD
  4. 1999 Acura Integra 2-door
  5. 1994 Dodge/Plymouth Grand Caravan/Voyager
  6. 1994 Dodge/Plymouth Grand Caravan/Voyager AWD
  7. 1994 Dodge/Plymouth Caravan/Voyager
  8. 1998 Acura Integra 2-door
  9. 2000 Audi TT Quattro 2-door Coupe
  10. 1994 Dodge/Plymouth Shadow/Sundance 2-door Hatchback

Dubin said while some the popular vehicles are stripped for parts, some of the sportier models, such as the Audi, are exported to other countries and sold to unsuspecting consumers.

“They also use these vehicles strictly for transportation, getting from A to B, but there is a significant amount of organized crime involved in all of this,” Dubin said.

Dubin recommends purchasing an “after market” electronic immobilizer that retails for around $400. He says don’t leave your car unattended with the keys in the ignition and “always protect your keys.”

“If you have an immobilizer and they get your keys, you’re immobilizer is no use to you. Even in your house, don’t leave them where you can see them in the kitchen window because that will incite break ins. Don’t leave extra keys in the car and park your car at night in well-lit areas,” he said.

The least stolen vehicles were:

  1. 2003 Buick Le Sabre 4-door
  2. 2003 Cadillac Deville 4-door
  3. 2002 Ford/Mercury Crown Victoria/Grand Marquis 4-door
  4. 2000 Saturn SW1 Wagon
  5. 2000 Lincoln Continental 4-door
  6. 2000 Volvo S70 4-door
  7. 1998 Hyundai Accent 4-door
  8. 1997 Buick Regal 4-door
  9. 1996 Buick Park Avenue 4-door
  10. 2001 Toyota Highlander 4-door 2WD

The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates auto theft costs each policyholder an additional $48 on their insurance premium.

Auto theft costs Canadians approximately $1.2 billion per year when health care, court, policing, legal and out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles, are taken into consideration.

“Car thieves have absolutely no regard for public safety and the rules of the road. Every year approximately 40 people die and 65 are injured as a direct result of auto theft. When it’s in the hands of a thief, a stolen car is like a loaded gun,” the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s website reads.