Home Crime in the U.S. 2016 Crime in the U.S. 2016 Topic Pages Motor Vehicle Theft

Motor Vehicle Theft

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Definition

In the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, motor vehicle theft is defined as the theft or attempted theft of a motor vehicle. A motor vehicle is defined in the UCR Program as 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.

Overview

  • There were an estimated 765,484 thefts of motor vehicles nationwide in 2016. The estimated rate of motor vehicle thefts was 236.9 per 100,000 inhabitants. (See Table 1.)
  • The estimated number of motor vehicle thefts increased 7.4 percent in 2016 when compared with the 2015 estimates and 5.8 percent when compared with the 2012 estimates, and dropped 30.4 percent when compared with the 2007 estimates. (See Table 1A.)
  • Approximately $5.9 billion was lost nationwide to motor vehicle thefts in 2016. The average dollar loss per stolen vehicle was $7,680. (Based on Tables 1 and 15.)

Expanded 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:

  • Rates (per 100,000 inhabitants): Table 11 
  • Offense Analysis: Tables 15 and 16

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.