Thieves bring new meaning to "tailgate party"

Pickup tailgate thefts rise dramatically

February 7, 2013
by Fleet Management staff

DES PLAINES, Illinois–Theft of pickup truck tailgates is on the rise. The US National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has released a first-time report showing the rate of tailgate theft claims has been increasing since 2009, with an 18 percent increase projected from 2011 to 2012.

The report examines theft claims submitted to insurance companies during the period from January 1, 2006, through September 30, 2012. Texas topped the list as the loss state with the most tailgate theft claims—451, or 34 percent of the total. California was second with 272 claims, followed by Arizona with 125. Florida was fourth with 86 thefts, and Nevada rounds out the top five with 36.

The make and model that saw the most tailgate theft claims during this period was the 2008 Ford F250 with 70 claims, or five percent of the total. Next was the 2010 Ford F150 with 48 claims, followed by the 2007 Chevrolet Silverado with 39 claims. The oldest vehicle identified in this report was a 1985 Ford F150. The newest vehicles identified included 2012 models of Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC and Toyota pickups.

The cities where the most tailgate thefts occurred were:  Houston (96), San Antonio (70), Dallas (51), Phoenix (36), and Fresno, California (31).

Tailgate thefts aren’t anything new; however, the rate of thefts has been increasing in recent years. For example, from 2006 through 2009 there were only 23 tailgate theft claims processed. In 2010, that number shot up to 430 and increased again in 2011 to 472. Through September 30, 2012, tailgate theft claims in 2012 reached 418, with 557 projected through all of 2012.

It is important to note that the numbers in this report reflect insurance claims and are not representative of the actual theft activity. Moreover, due to the methodology used to identify tailgate thefts it is possible that some thefts may have been missed. Also, for many reasons, tailgate theft victims choose not to submit an insurance claim. Many victims may not be insured against theft while some feel that filing a claim may impact their future premium. Others may have a deductible that is higher than the replacement cost.

Tailgates can be stolen in less than 30 seconds, making them prime targets of opportunity. With replacement costs reaching $1,000 or more, it makes sense for pickup owners to make their tailgates less attractive to thieves.

Tailgate theft prevention tips:

  • First, if your model has an integrated lock, use it. If a tailgate can’t
    be opened, it can’t be stolen as easily. If you don’t have one, get one;
    they are relatively inexpensive.
  • Park with the tailgate as close as you can to an object or a structure
    to prevent the tailgate from opening.
  • Etch the truck’s vehicle identification number (VIN) or your own
    personal identification number into the tailgate; this will aid in its
    recovery and may prevent its theft in the first place.