D.C., Maryland Lead Nationwide Surge in 2023 Vehicle Thefts

Total thefts in the U.S. only increased 1% from 2022, but in Washington, D.C. and Maryland, they rose 64% and 63%, respectively.


In 2023, vehicle thefts in the U.S. reached a new peak, according to the latest data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The report showed more than 1 million vehicles were stolen last year, marking a continued increase in nationwide vehicle thefts.

This rise is particularly pronounced in Washington, D.C., and one of its bordering states, Maryland, which have seen theft rates soar by 64% and 63%, respectively.

The NICB's findings showed while the national theft rate grew by approximately 1% from the previous year, certain states and metropolitan areas faced much steeper increases. Behind Washington, D.C., and Maryland, the rest of the top five largest increases in thefts in 2023 were reported in Connecticut (33%), Nevada (18%) and Massachusetts (16%.)

"Criminals are employing increasingly sophisticated methods to steal vehicles, including the use of advanced technology to bypass security systems," said David J. Glawe, president and CEO of NICB. "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."

California remains the state with the highest number of thefts -- 208,668 in 2023, contributing significantly to the national total. However, when adjusted for population, Washington, D.C., stands out with the highest theft rate -- 1,149.71 thefts per 100,000 people, more than three times the national theft rate.

Urban centers continue to be hotspots for vehicle theft, with densely populated areas experiencing higher theft rates compared to more suburban or rural locales.

The top 10 states by volume have remained consistent in each quarter in 2023. After California, Texas and Florida were ranked second and third in thefts by volume with 115,013 and 46,213 stolen vehicles reported, respectively. Five of the states included 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.

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