NICB reveals top states for tailgate thefts; OEMs respond

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Updated Jun 23, 2016
A 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited Crew Cab 4×4 which is available with an electronic locking tailgate.A 2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited Crew Cab 4×4 which is available with an electronic locking tailgate.

Texas may not be the most populated state in the nation, but it’s the most targeted when it comes to tailgate thefts.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that while the Lone Star state is tops among tailgate thieves, insurance claims for such thefts nationwide declined 6 percent in 2015, reversing a five-year uptick. In Texas alone, tailgate theft claims dropped 20 percent from 2014 to 2015 (see ‘Top 10 loss states’ chart below).

The top five states for tailgate thefts—2014 and 2015 combined—are: Texas (1,421), California (875), Florida (252), Arizona (204) and Pennsylvania (68). The top five cities for tailgate thefts during these years are: Houston (300), Dallas (276), San Antonio (141), Phoenix (68) and Fresno, Calif. (51).

The NICB reports that its figures are based on insurance claims and that actual thefts may be higher since many truck owners do not file tailgate theft claims. For those that do, such claims have dropped over the past five years.

In 2014, 1,895 claims for tailgate theft were identified in ISO ClaimSearch, an insurance industry claims database. That number decreased to 1,787 in 2015 for a drop of 6 percent—the first decline in claims since NICB began reviewing them in 2010.

This table shows the annual tailgate theft claims in the U.S. from 2010 to 2015:

 Year          Claims        
 2010  430
 2011  472
 2012  831
 2013  1,090
 2014  1,895
 2015  1,787

Though NICB does not offer explanations for the drop in thefts, more late-model pickups now offer electronic locking tailgates.

“Few people are going to go back to their tailgate and lock it with a key,” Ram Trucks Communications Manager Nick Cappa said. “We implemented (an electronic locking tailgate) in late 2012 on the Ram 1500, Ram 2500 and Ram 3500, so our trucks are covered from that point on.

“We integrated a lock mechanism with the four doors, so that when you hit the locking mechanism (by remote or by button in the cab), it locks the tailgate and all the four doors at the same time, especially for that reason.”

Ford also offers an electronic tailgate lock.

“F-150 offers a standard manual tailgate lock. Electric tailgate lock is also available that is locked/unlocked via key fob,” Ford Trucks Communications Manager Mike Levine said.

“2016 Super Duty comes with a standard manual tailgate lock. 2017 Super Duty will offer manual and electric tailgate locks, like F-150.”

Chevrolet has also made improvements in tailgate security.

“One of the biggest has been adding a power lock to the tailgate, which is tied to the power locks on the truck,” explained Monte Doran, Chevrolet communications representative.

“As such, securing the tailgate is as simple as hitting the door lock on the key fob. The locking tailgate is available on both Silverado and Colorado trucks.”

The electronic locking tailgate is also available on GMC Sierra and GMC Canyon.

Replacing a tailgate is expensive. A new one from the manufacturer of a popular 2015 pickup truck is about $1,300 but can soar to $3,000 for features like back-up cameras.

NICB reports that several episodes of multiple thefts have occurred in single locations, like auto dealers’ lots and shopping malls.

Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, the NICB recommends that consumers consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock. Other preventive measures include parking indoors and backing up against a wall or other impediment when parking.

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