The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released a first-time report that examines the incidents of tailgate thefts across the United States. A total of 1,343 claims were generated from 45 states. Notably, the rate of tailgate theft claims has been increasing since 2009, with an 18 percent increase projected from 2011 to 2012.

The report examines theft claims submitted to insurance companies during the period from Jan. 1, 2006, through Sept. 30, 2012. Texas topped the list as the loss state with the most tailgate theft claims — 451 (34 percent of the total). California was No. 2 with 272 claims, followed by Arizona with 125. Florida was fourth with 86 thefts, and Nevada rounded out the top five with 36.

The make and model that saw the most tailgate theft claims during this period was the 2008 Ford F-250 with 70 claims or 5 percent of the total. Next was the 2010 Ford F-150 with 48 claims, followed by the 2007 Chevrolet Silverado with 39 claims. The oldest vehicle identified in this report was a 1985 Ford F-150. The newest vehicles identified included 2012 models of Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, and Toyota pickups.      

The cities where the most tailgate thefts occurred were:  Houston (96), San Antonio (70), Dallas (51), Phoenix (36), and Fresno, Calif. (31).

Tailgate thefts aren't anything new, according to the NICB; however, the rate of thefts has been increasing in recent years. For example, from 2006 through 2009 there were only 23 tailgate theft claims processed. In 2010, that number shot up to 430 and increased again in 2011 to 472. As Sept. 30, 2012, tailgate theft claims for 2012 reached 418, with 557 projected through all of 2012.

The NICB noted that the numbers in its report reflected insurance claims and are not representative of the actual theft activity.

Tailgates can be stolen in less than 30 seconds, making them prime targets of opportunity, and replacement costs can reach $1,000 or more.

To prevent tailgate thefts, NICB made the following recommendations:
•    First, if the model has an integrated lock, use it. If a tailgate can't be opened, it can't be stolen as easily. If it doesn’t have one, get one; they are relatively inexpensive.
•    Park with the tailgate as close as possible to an object or a structure to prevent the tailgate from opening.
•    Etch the truck's vehicle identification number (VIN) or another personal identification number into the tailgate; this will aid in its recovery and may prevent its theft in the first place.