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Study Reveals Worst Places for Truck Tailgate Theft in US

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You ever have those moments where you find out the reason for something you had always seen, but never thought about, and all of a sudden, the world just is aglow with enlightenment?

That is what it was like for me when I found out that all of those trucks that I have seen rolling around with no tailgate weren’t in an accident–more likely, they just took the tailgates off, or just as likely, someone stole it.

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Tailgate theft was the subject of a new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), which found that the number of thefts went down a little bit compared to last year, from 1,877 in 2016 to 1,788 in 2017, about a 5% drop. On the other hand, though, the NICB added a caveat to the report, as those numbers are based just on insurance claim numbers, so the real number of thefts reported to police could be “considerably higher,” as many people’s insurance policies don’t cover stolen tailgates.

However, one thing that the report does show us is where most people’s tailgates are stolen.

tailgate theft chart

Photo: NICB

Sorry, Texas and California.

According to the study, these two states made up a full 60% of the claims by themselves, with 1,360 thefts in Texas and 1,039 in California. The next state in the top ten is Florida, where there were a mere 240 thefts reported to insurance.

Interestingly, the study’s list of worst states for pickup tailgate theft included some newcomers, Nevada and South Carolina, which made it onto the list after thefts jumped a crazy 245% and 118%, respectively.

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tailgate theft chart 2

Photo: NICB

So, why do people steal truck tailgates? Basically, because by design an unlocked tailgate can be removed in seconds, and replacements sell for around $1,300 apiece, retail. So, if it’s stolen, the cost to replace it legitimately is high, leading to a thriving “used” market full of people selling stolen goods back to the victims.

Ultimately, then, it is best not to join this downward spiral. In modern trucks, this can generally be done by making sure the vehicle is locked, as most tailgates these days have locks to deter thieves. On older models, NICB recommends buying one of the many, relatively cheap aftermarket tailgate locks.

The NICB said, “A minimal investment in security can go a long way in saving owners lots of money and inconvenience should they become victims of tailgate theft.”

News Sources: Jalopnik, NICB