The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), an organization that prevents and detects insurance fraud and vehicle theft, has released a report that shows insured tailgate thefts rose from 831 in 2012 to 1,090 in 2013 – an increase of 31 percent.

The report reviews claims data submitted by insurance companies between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2013. The top three states for tailgate thefts during this period were Texas (752), California (334) and Arizona (207). The cities reporting the most thefts were Houston (145), San Antonio (125) and Dallas (91). The top three cities for tailgate thefts were Houston (145), San Antonio (125) and Dallas (91).

See also: NICB Reports Drop in Number of Car Thefts

Items that can be acquired at a fraction of the legitimate costs can be sold easily underground, NICB said. While many stolen tailgates end up on similar vehicles, others are simply sold for scrap, which contributes to the nationwide problem of metal theft.

Tailgate thefts can occur anywhere, but several episodes of multiple thefts have occurred in single locations, such as auto dealers’ lots and shopping malls. Since a tailgate theft takes just seconds to accomplish, consumers might consider using an after-market security device, such as a hinge lock to thwart criminals.

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