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Home Crime in the U.S. 2012 Crime in the U.S. 2012 Property Crime Motor Vehicle Theft

Motor Vehicle Theft

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In the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, motor vehicle theft is defined as the theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle. In the UCR Program, a motor vehicle is a self-propelled vehicle that runs on land surfaces and not on rails. Examples of motor vehicles include sport utility vehicles, automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, motor scooters, all-terrain vehicles, and snowmobiles. Motor vehicle theft does not include farm equipment, bulldozers, airplanes, construction equipment, or water craft such as motorboats, sailboats, houseboats, or jet skis. The taking of a motor vehicle for temporary use by persons having lawful access is excluded from this definition.


●    There were an estimated 721,053 thefts of motor vehicles nationwide in 2012. The estimated rate of motor vehicle thefts was 229.7 per 100,000 inhabitants.

●    The estimated number of motor vehicle thefts increased 0.6 percent in 2012 when compared with the 2011 estimates, but declined 24.8 percent when compared to the 2008 estimates, and 42.8 percent when compared to the 2003 estimates. (See Table 1A.)

●    More than $4.3 billion was lost nationwide to motor vehicle thefts in 2012. The average dollar loss per stolen vehicle was $6,019.(Based on Tables 1 and 23.)

●    In 2012, of all motor vehicles stolen, 73.9 percent were automobiles. (Based on Table 19.)

Expanded motor vehicle theft data

Expanded offense data are the details of the various offenses that the UCR Program collects beyond the count of how many crimes law enforcement agencies report. These details may include the type of weapon used in a crime, type or value of items stolen, and so forth. In addition, expanded data include trends (for example, 2-year comparisons) and rates per 100,000 inhabitants.

Expanded information regarding motor vehicle theft is available in the following tables:

Trends (2-year):  Tables 12, 13, 14, and 15

Rates (per 100,000 inhabitants):  Tables 16, 17, 18, and 19

Offense Analysis:  Tables 23 and 24

Vehicle Type:  Tables 15 and 19

Motor Vehicle Theft Table, “Motor Vehicle Theft, Percent Distribution by Region, 2012”

What you won't find on this page

  • Makes and models of stolen motor vehicles.  The UCR Program does not collect this information.
  • Clearance and arrest data for motor vehicle theft.