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As the third best-selling full-size pickup in the U.S., the Chevy Silverado is a popular choice for many truck owners. It seems that the Silverado is beloved by another group as well: thieves. That’s right, the Chevy Silverado is actually one of the most stolen cars in the United States.

Although trucks are tempting targets for thieves in general, they seemed to have singled out one specific model year of this Chevy truck in 2018. Let’s find out more about the Silverado that made the National Insurance Crime Bureau Hot Wheels list of America’s 10 most stolen vehicles. 

Why your older Chevy Silverado pickup is more likely to get stolen

According to the NICB, the 2004 Chevrolet Silverado is the fourth most popular vehicle stolen in the U.S. in 2018. Thieves took 2,097 of these trucks, and 31,566 Silverados of all model years were stolen overall.

By comparison, the Ford F-150 was in third place in the Hot Wheels list, with criminals taking 3,173 2006 F-150s with 36,355 total model thefts. Taking the first and second position in this list were the 2000 Honda Civic and 1997 Honda Accord.

It might seem counterintuitive that thieves would find a pickup from the early 2000s irresistible. Newer, more expensive cars seem as if they’d be easier to resell on the black market. But from a car thief’s perspective, an older pickup is a goldmine.

For the one thing, thieves prefer the 2004 Chevy Silverado because it’s easy to steal. Like many older vehicles, it doesn’t have security features such as smart key technology or another immobilizing device that prevents the engine from starting without the fob. It can be hotwired in a snap.

Another reason why thieves go for this truck is that its parts are more valuable for resale than the entire vehicle is. This is often the case with stolen pickups. Stolen trucks are taken to “chop shops” where the more expensive parts — often the wheels and tailgates — are stripped off. Then these parts are sold on internet marketplaces such as eBay or Craigslist.

Sometimes the stolen vehicle’s parts are sold to shady auto parts dealers. Popular vehicles, like the Silverado, need replacement parts. And these crooked dealers have no problem with selling them at deeply discounted prices to unwitting customers.

Some of the parts lifted from this model year, such as its wheels, are interchangeable with Silverados produced as early as 1999 and as late as 2007. So, these parts are more versatile and therefore more valuable for resale.

And if you believe that the Silverado’s popularity as a theft target is a recent phenomenon, you’d be wrong. The full-size Chevy truck has made the list since the NICB started publishing the Hot Wheels list in 2007. The numbers of these trucks being stolen have increased each year, also.

Foiling thieves who want your truck

We’ve already mentioned that the 2004 Silverado is lacking in anti-theft technology, making it an easy target for the bad guys. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to protect your truck from being stolen. The NICB recommends a four-pronged approach to stumping truck thieves.

First, use common sense, which is the simplest and cheapest way to prevent theft. This means taking the keys out of the ignition and locking all doors and windows. Be sure to park in a well-lit area.

Buying an audible or visible warning device is the second way to protect your vehicle. Choose from such devices as audible alarms, brake or wheel locks, steering wheel collars, VIN etching, or microdot marking.

The third way to guard against truck theft is to get an immobilizing device that prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring your ride. These devices either have computer chips embedded in ignition keys or they cut the electrical current or fuel supply to the engine until you activate a switch or button. Among these devices are smart keys, kill switches, fuse cut-offs, and starter or ignition disablers.

Finally, NICB recommends that you buy a tracking device that sends a signal to the police or a monitoring station when your truck is stolen. These devices have been proven to be quite effective in stolen vehicle recovery. The more popular ones use telematics to combine GPS and wireless tech to alert the owner who can track the vehicle’s movement on a smartphone or computer.

It’s often been said that if thieves want your vehicle badly enough, they’ll steal it. But if you’ve taken measures to protect your truck — especially if it’s a 2004 Chevy Silverado –you’ve made it that much harder for them to succeed.