Crime bureau releases

DETROIT (AP) — Honda and Toyota were the most popular makes among thieves nationwide last year, but some domestic light trucks made gains on the latest list of most-stolen vehicles.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau, in a list to be released Thursday, says the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Oldsmobile Cutlass, Honda Civic and Ford Mustang were the most stolen vehicles in 1997.
They were followed by the Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet C/K pickup, Nissan Maxima, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford F-series pickup.
The list is based on 447,007 stolen vehicle reports submitted to the nonprofit bureau by its member insurance companies nationwide. The figure represents 32 percent of all vehicles reported stolen last year.
The bureau combines theft reports for all model years of a particular make and model, unlike a similar annual list issued by CCC Information Services Inc. That company, which also tracks vehicle thefts for the insurance industry, lists the most-stolen vehicles by model year.
The two lists feature some of the same cars. CCC reported in March that nine of the top 10 stolen cars in 1997 were all Toyota Camrys or Honda Accords. The 10th was the ’95 Ford Mustang.
More popular light trucks appeared on the bureau’s top 25 list: the Chevy and Ford pickups, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Cherokee sport utility vehicles, and the Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan minivans.
The lists of most-stolen vehicles usually lag sales trends by several years. As a popular model ages and demand for its parts rises, it moves up on the theft lists.
“Vehicle thieves are not trendsetters,” said Ed Sparkman, senior vehicle theft manager for the bureau. “They usually go for the most popular vehicles because they provide the best market for stolen auto parts.”
Buying habits across the country also are reflected in theft trends. American vehicles are the top targets in Detroit and Chicago, pickups are most popular in Houston, and Japanese cars lead the list in Los Angeles.
The bureau, based in Palos Hills, Ill., is supported by more than 1,000 insurance companies.