• Ford F-150 Picture

    Ford F-150 Picture

    Thieves are having a tailgate party with trucks like the Ford F-150.
    | February 08, 2013

    | Ford Motor Company

    1 Photo

    Just the Facts:

      The 2008 Ford F-250 and 2010 F-150 are the pickup trucks whose tailgates are most likely to be stolen, according to a new report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
      The 2007 Chevrolet Silverado is also popular with thieves.
      Texas, California, and Arizona top the list of states with most tailgate thefts.

      DES PLAINES, Illinois — The 2008 Ford F-250 and 2010 F-150 are the pickup trucks whose tailgates are most likely to be stolen, according to a new report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Chevy’s 2007 Silverado came in 3rd, followed closely by the 2008 Silverado.

      The NICB report, for the first time ever, looked at the number of thefts of pickup truck tailgates nationwide. The study found that 1,343 claims were filed in 45 states during the period from January 1, 2006 to September 30, 2012. The report also noted that thefts have been on the rise since 2009, with a projected 18 percent increase from 2011 to 2012.

      According to the NICB, tailgates went missing from 70 2008 Ford F-250s from 2006 through 2012, while 48 F-150s lost their gates. During that same period, the 2007 Chevy Silverado experienced 39 thefts, and the 2008 Silverado was close behind with 36.

      The states with the most tailgate thefts were Texas (451), California (272), Arizona (125), Florida (86), and Nevada (36). Cities with the highest number of such incidents included Houston with 96, San Antonio with 70, and Dallas with 51.

      But the NICB cautions that its study was based on insurance claims, not the actual rate of theft. Many owners don’t file claims, some because they aren’t insured against theft, some because their deductible is higher than the replacement cost, and some don’t want to risk an increase in premiums. So the actual number of incidents may be significantly higher than the report indicates.

      Tailgates aren’t the only vehicle parts that have attracted the attention of thieves, of course. Other targets include traditional favorites, like wheels, radios, and body parts, but also such high-value items as catalytic converters, airbags, entertainment systems, engines, and transmissions. In 2012 there was even a country-wide increase in the disappearance of third-row seats from SUVs.

      But tailgates may be among the easiest parts to steal. They are light enough to be carried by one person, usually simple to remove without tools, and according to the NICB can be stolen in about 30 seconds. Situated at the back of the truck, they are also easily damaged, creating a market for replacements, which can run into the thousands of dollars from dealers or auto-parts stores.

      To help prevent tailgate theft, the NICB recommends using the lock if the tailgate has one, parking the back of the truck against a post or structure, and etching the VIN into the tailgate to make it easier to identify if it is stolen. Pickuptrucks.com suggests putting a hose clamp around the hinge that lifts to remove the tailgate, noting that most thieves either won’t have tools with them or won’t want to take extra time to fool with it. There are also a variety of aftermarket tailgate locks available online and from parts stores.

      Edmunds says: Thieves will take anything that isn’t bolted down…and a lot of things that are. At least we can take a few simple precautions to make their work harder.

      By Peter Gareffa

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