The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that SUVs and cross-over SUVs are the vehicle of choice for car thieves.

Almost 20,000 2009-11 model year sports utility (SUVs) and crossover sports utility vehicles (CUVs) were reported stolen between 2008 and mid-year 2012.

CUV thefts outnumbered SUV thefts 12,070 to 7,891 between 2008 and June 2012, according to the NICB data.

The Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4 and Ford Edge were the most-stolen CUVs in that period, according to the report while the Chevy Tahoe, Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Cherokee were the most stolen SUVs in the same time frame.

According to NICB and, the most popular vehicles being stolen (SUVs and CUVs) are as follows:

–Ford Escape (CUV): 1,014 thefts
–Chevy Tahoe (SUV): 856 thefts
–Toyota RAV4 (CUV): 801 thefts
–Ford Edge (CUV): 739 thefts
–Dodge Journey (CUV): 721 thefts
–Honda CR-V (CUV): 643 thefts
–Jeep Wrangler (SUV): 643 thefts
–Jeep Grand Cherokee (SUV): 641 thefts
–Nissan Rogue (CUV): 547 thefts
–Nissan Murano (CUV): 473 thefts

Total reported SUV and CUV thefts have jumped significantly nationwide, according to the NICB, which presented data going back to 2008, when there were 511 such thefts. That figure soared to 3,162 the following year, jumped again to 5,402 in 2010, then to 7,580 in 2011.

During the first half of 2012, there were 3,306 reported thefts, the report said.

California was home to the most SUV and CUV thefts, with 3,003. That far outpaced the next state, Texas, which had 1,826 thefts during the same period. Florida followed closely with 1,784.

In more localized areas, the New York/Long Island/Northern New Jersey area ranked highest for thefts during that time by far, with 2,438. Theft victims in that area shouldn’t expect to get their vehicle back; it had nearly four times more unrecovered thefts than other areas in the report.

The Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana area was second-highest in total theft numbers, with 1,229, while California had the third-highest number of unrecovered SUVs and CUVs states in the U.S.

Strangely enough, the NICB report says thefts of tailgates is up.
Insurance claims involving tailgate theft rose astronomically between 2009, when there were 16 such tailgate thefts, and 2010, when that figure exploded to 430.

NICB spokesman Frank Scafidi said that, though there is no “empirical foundation” to support a reason in the insurance claims increase, strong demand for tailgates in the resale market is likely the main driver.

The number rose again in 2011, when there were 472 such incidents. With 418 tailgate thefts through the third quarter of 2012, the NICB projects another increase to 557 for last year.

High-end tailgates, usually equipped with cameras allowing drivers to see behind them when they back up, can cost $3,600 to replace, while the average tailgate costs about $1,200, according to the insurance bureau.

Thieves resell the parts on Ebay and Craigslist and also scrap yards, where “the rising cost of metal has made it lucrative to sell these parts there,” according to the report.