The 2018 tailgating season may be coming to a close, sports fans — or at least a few months' pause before Major League Baseball starts up again in the spring. But all you pregame parking-lot partiers can rest easy: The titular tailgate of your favorite sports-spectating pastime is a little safer this year. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the incidence of tailgate theft has leveled off over the past few years.
Related: 'Tis the Season to Be Wary: Holiday Car Theft Spikes
The Des Plaines, Ill.-based insurance-crime investigators of the NICB said in a new report that 1,788 tailgate thefts occurred in 2017. That's 89 fewer incidents than in 2016 and 6 percent less overall since 2014. The report is based on insurance claims, meaning the number of uninsured or unreported tailgates taken could be higher, though the data is still indicative of a downward trend in this particular car crime.
The NICB says tailgate theft is a lucrative business proposition for crooks, as the average cost of replacement outweighs the risk of acquiring one via the ol' five-finger discount.
"With new tailgates retailing around $1,300, with even higher costs for some variants, the demand contributes to a thriving underground market for vehicle parts — a market fed with parts removed from stolen vehicles," NICB said in a statement.
The top five states for tailgate theft, including the combined figure for 2016 and 2017, were:
5. Nevada, 107 thefts
4. Arizona, 156
3. Florida, 240
2. California, 1,039
1. Texas, 1,360
Among cities, motorists were most frequently hit in:
5. Fresno, Calif.
4. Los Angeles
3. San Antonio
What can you do to avoid having nowhere to sit or to set your beer cooler or foil-covered platter of grilled meats? Newer vehicles offer locking tailgates that help deter thefts, while owners of older models can purchase a lock to make their cars a less desirable target for thieves.
"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," NICB stated.
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