Top 11 holidays for vehicle theft

Did you know that, statistically, you're far more likely to have your vehicle stolen while singing "Auld Lang Syne" with a champagne flute in your hand than "Joy to the World" with an eggnog?

That's according to analysis of National Crime Information Center vehicle-theft data by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Of 11 holidays examined, the study shows that New Year's Day is the top official holiday for auto theft while Christmas Day ranks at the very bottom.

Unofficial holiday, Halloween, takes the overall No. 1 spot for the crime, with 2,328 vehicle thefts in 2011, but the 2,286 thefts on New Year's Day in 2011 make it the federally recognized holiday with the most stolen cars. Christmas Day, meanwhile, saw only 1,347 thefts. So, unless a massive faction of the nation's auto thieves suddenly adopts a collective New Year's resolution to stop stealing cars, Jan. 1 is the day you'll want to be sure to heed a few safety precautions. The NCIB recommends the following:

Park in well-lit areas. Keep packages in the trunk or out of sight. Make sure your vehicle is locked while parked.

Although the nation has enjoyed a declining auto-theft rate over the past eight years, including a nearly 10% dip in holiday-specific thefts from 2010 to 2011, there were still 20,800 vehicles reported stolen last year among 11 holidays studied. The highest non-holiday vehicle-theft tally in 2011 came on Aug. 1, when 2,687 cars were reported stolen.

Holidays ranked by number of thefts reported in 2011 are as follows:

11. Christmas Day (1,347)
10. Thanksgiving (1,526)
9. Christmas Eve (1,797)
8. President’s Day (1,830)
7. Independence Day (1,862)
6. Valentine’s Day (1,895)
5. New Year’s Eve (1,947)
4. Labor Day (1,977)
3. Memorial Day (2,005)
2. New Year’s Day (2,286)
1. Halloween (2,328)

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