Dec. 23, 2012 at 10:33 AM ET
The holidays may be a time to spread joy, but be careful not to let a car thief sour your good cheer.
A new study ranks the final week of the year as one of the riskiest when it comes to getting your car stolen. But the good news is that even the bad guys seem to take a break on Christmas Day.
Among 11 major holidays (OK, an even dozen if you include Groundhog Day), the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICD) reveals Christmas landed last in terms of the total number of vehicles stolen in the U.S. in 2011, at 1,347.
In fact, Christmas had the lowest rate of car theft of any day in 2011, holiday or not. Groundhog Day, at 1,491, was second-lowest holiday.
Apparently, all those tricksters were helping themselves to some expensive treats on Halloween, which ranked No. 1 on the list with 2,328 vehicles stolen.
Close behind, however, was New Year’s Day, at 2,286, followed by Memorial Day, at 2,005, and Labor Day, at 1,977.
But the study can be a bit misleading. Fifth on the list is New Year’s Eve, with 1,947 stolen vehicles. So, if you consider the build-up to the dropping ball and the day of hangovers to follow as one continuous holiday, suddenly New Year’s takes the lead by a wide margin, at 4,233.
And, by the same logic, Christmas suddenly becomes a much less bucolic holiday. The folks at the NICD rank Christmas Eve ninth among the 11 major holidays, with a reported 1,797 vehicles stolen in 2011. If you combine them together, the total suddenly jumps to 3,144, just behind New Year’s.
Why might there be more thefts on Christmas Eve? It may be that thieves expect to find more gifts in the cars they steal as folks head over to visit family and friends – or race to buy last-minute gifts.
“Although the nation has enjoyed declining vehicle thefts for eight consecutive years, the risk from vehicle theft is still very real. There is always a black market for items obtained by theft, and vehicles remain popular theft targets,” says the new holiday report.
How do the holidays stack up from a theft perspective? Here’s the list:
1. Halloween (2,328)
2. New Year’s Day (2,286)
3. Memorial Day (2,005)
4. Labor Day (1,977)
5. New Year’s Eve (1,947)
6. Valentine’s Day (1,895)
7. Independence Day (1,862)
8. President’s Day (1,830)
9. Christmas Eve (1,797)
10. Thanksgiving (1,526)
11. Groundhog Day (1,491)
12. Christmas Day (1,347)
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