Truck Tailgate Thefts Are on the Rise

Owners of Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500, Nissan Titan, Toyota Tundra and GMC Sierra pickup trucks know that these vehicles are prized models. Ideal for their room, payload and towing capacities, large pickup trucks are also prized by thieves and may be stolen, chopped up and the parts shipped reused elsewhere. The National Insurance Crime Bureau or NICB has been tracking vehicle thefts for decades and recently evaluated data involving truck tailgate thefts. The results of that study have been released and offers some important facts about tailgate thefts that just might surprise you.

Theft Trends

The NICB reviewed data going back to 2006, discovering that tailgate theft insurance claims have risen dramatically in recent years. Its data looked at insurance claims from Jan. 1, 2006 through Sept. 30, 2012, with just 23 reports of thefts from 2006 to 2009.

NICBBeginning in 2010, thieves began to concentrate on swiping tailgates, what the Detroit News reported as an easy target, just like truck hubcaps. In 2010, 430 insurance claims were filed, rising to 472 in 2011. Although 2012 data is not yet final, the NICB estimates that 557 claims were filed last year, for an increase of nearly 20 percent. The data reveals that only the tailgates were stolen such claims were not part of a full theft report.

State Data

The NICB report pulled data from 45 states and found that Texas had the most reports of stolen truck beds, with 451 claims filed. Thats about one in three claims or 34 percent, followed by California with 272 clams and Arizona with 125 claims. Put together, these three states comprised nearly two-thirds of all claims.

The NICB also found that the most claims by cities are made in Houston, with 96. San Antonio followed with 70 with Dallas, Phoenix and Fresno, Calif., rounding out the top five cities. About 10 percent of the insurance claims had no city listing, suggesting that the numbers for some locales were actually higher.

Quick Thefts

Like hubcaps, pickup truck tailgates can be stolen in under 30 seconds. That speed alone makes tailgates an opportune and lucrative target for thieves. And unlike hubcaps, truck tail gates typically do not require the use of tools to remove.

To avoid becoming a theft statistic, the NICB advises that owners use an integrated lock if one is included. Most thefts occur because tailgates were not locked. If your tail gate does not come with a lock, installing one is a low cost investment, something you can install yourself.

You can also make it difficult for thieves by parking your pickup truck so that thieves have difficulty accessing the tail gate. For instance, you might consider backing the truck up as close to a wall or other stationary object as possible. Also consider etching the vehicles identification number into the tailgate, a move that will make it easier to identify if it is hawked on the open market. Use your own identification markers as well, documenting that information when you file your loss report.

Replacement Costs

If your truck tailgate is stolen, replacing it does not come cheap. The NICB estimates that tailgates cost about $1,200 to replace, depending on the make, model and color of the vehicle. That price, however, can cost much more if a tailgate camera or other electronic device is embedded within it. Such outfitted truck parts will cost you about $3,600 to replace, which may explain the rise in claims. Such cameras began to appear on pickup trucks just over the past few years, giving thieves an even greater reason to make off with these tail gates.


Truck owners should be aware that thieves are targeting personally owned pickup trucks in far greater numbers than commercially owned vehicles. Roughly 90 percent of all tailgate thefts are for privately owned vehicles, suggesting the ease by which thieves have found such thefts to be.

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