TAMPA - Karen Sullivan calls what happened "shocking." More than two years have passed since thieves took off with her family's two trucks. Still, the sting of what happened that morning remains.
Stan Doss, a special agent with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, says older Ford pickup trucks like the Sullivan family's rank at the top of the 2011 most-stolen list in both the Tampa Bay area and in Florida.
That's most likely because they are easy to break into and steal.
Among the most stolen cars in Florida last year:
- 1. 2006 Ford F-150
- 2. 2000 Honda Civic
- 3. 1996 Honda Accord
- 4. 1997 Nissan Altima
- 5. 2011 Toyota Camry
According to new statistics, more than 4,900 vehicles were stolen in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area alone last year. Tampa police Sgt. Michael Stout says car thieves target older model cars because they can get in quick.
More: See a photo gallery of the vehicles most often stolen at http://wfts.tv/VtwTEu .
So how can you protect yourself?
Never leave anything of value, like an iPad, sitting in plain view. Sometimes they go for what is in the car as well as the wheels.
The NICB, an insurance industry-supported crime prevention agency, says 90 percent of cars stolen in the bay area involve keys, like the spares you hide in your visor or under your floor mat.
Consider adding an alarm and parking in populated, well lit areas when possible. The NICB and local law enforcement statistics show car theft is dropping, thanks to concentrated efforts over the last several years.