Small cars—big targets for auto thieves

Report says power-packing minis most frequently stolen

Big things come in small packages—and that’s not just for diamonds. This theory holds true for many cars, as well. Small bodied, power-packed engines and top of the line equipment provide easy lifts for auto thieves.

Leading research from CCC Information Services, Inc. indicates that by percentage small cars are among the top vehicles stolen and never recovered—or recovered in a “totaled” condition. Topping the chart for stolen cars last year is BMW’s 2001 M-Series Roadster. Other frequently targeted cars were Acura Integras manufactured before 2002 and 2003-04 editions of the Suzuki Aerio.

Researchers indicate that these vehicles were targeted not only for their high-end equipment–sound systems, video components–but for their versatility. Parts can be switched from these cars to cheaper ones to enhance street performance. Not surprisingly, coastal states (where illegal street racing is more prevalent) report more instances of stolen cars.

Even before publication of this data, car manufacturers began taking more sophisticated anti-theft precautions. For instance, the 2002 Integra’s key is equipped with a chip that must be present for the car’s ignition to start. Significantly, Integras with this security chip installed do not make CCC’s Top 25 list.

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