BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Motor vehicle theft
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About this Topic

Motor vehicle theft is defined as the stealing or unauthorized taking of a motor vehicle, including attempted thefts.

  • Completed motor vehicle theft - The successful taking of a vehicle by an unauthorized person.
  • Attempted motor vehicle theft - The unsuccessful attempt by an unauthorized person to take a vehicle.

Publications & Products


Criminal Victimization, 2009 Presents the annual estimates of rates and levels of violent crime (rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault), property crime (burglary, motor vehicle theft, and property theft), and personal theft (pocket picking and purse snatching).
  Press Release | PDF (420K) | ASCII file (24K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 23K)
Part of the Criminal Victimization Series

Criminal Victimization in the United States -- Statistical Tables, 2006 Presents tables with detailed data on major variables measured by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
  Complete set of tables (PDF 1.4M) | Complete set of tables - Zip format (Spreadsheet 157K) | Demography of victims (PDF 336K) | Demography of victims - Zip format (Spreadsheet 38K) | Victims and offenders (PDF 321K) | Victims and offenders - Zip format (Spreadsheet 37K) | The crime event (PDF 239K) | The crime event - Zip format (Spreadsheet 46K) | Victims and the criminal justice system (PDF 315K) | Victims and the criminal justice system - Zip format (Spreadsheet 32K) | Series victimizations (PDF 96K) | Series victimizations - Zip format (Spreadsheet 5K) | Methodology (PDF 74K) | Methodology (ASCII file 47K) | NCVS questionnaires | Codebooks and Datasets
Part of the Criminal Victimization in the United States Series

Criminal Victimization in the United States -- Statistical Tables, 2005 Presents tables with detailed data on major variables measured by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
  Complete set of tables (PDF 723K) | Complete set of tables - Zip format (Spreadsheet 152K) | Demography of victims (PDF 221K) | Demography of victims - Zip format (Spreadsheet 59K) | Victims and offenders (PDF 217K) | Victims and offenders - Zip format (Spreadsheet 57K) | Geography (PDF 174K) | Geography - Zip format (Spreadsheet 29K) | The crime event (PDF 243K) | The crime event - Zip format (Spreadsheet 73K) | Victims and the criminal justice system (PDF 206K) | Victims and the criminal justice system - Zip format (Spreadsheet 47K) | Series victimizations (PDF 128K) | Series victimizations - Zip format (Spreadsheet 4K) | Methodology (PDF 49K) | Methodology (ASCII file 47K) | NCVS questionnaires | Codebooks and Datasets
Part of the Criminal Victimization in the United States Series

Criminal Victimization in the United States -- Statistical Tables, 2004 Presents tables with detailed data on major variables measured by the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
  Complete set of tables (PDF 786K) | Complete set of tables (Spreadsheet 136K) | Demography of victims (PDF 390K) | Demography of victims - Zip format (Spreadsheet 34K) | Victims and offenders (PDF 380K) | Victims and offenders - Zip format (Spreadsheet 31K) | Geography (PDF 333K) | Geography - Zip format (Spreadsheet 18K) | The crime event (PDF 198K) | The crime event - Zip format (Spreadsheet 40K) | Victims and the criminal justice system (PDF 166K) | Victims and the criminal justice system - Zip format (Spreadsheet 27K) | Series victimizations (PDF 84K) | Series victimizations - Ziip format (Spreadsheet 8K) | Methodology (PDF 49K) | Methodology (ASCII file 47K) | NCVS questionnaires | Codebooks and Datasets
Part of the Criminal Victimization in the United States Series

Carjacking, 1993-2002 Presents data for carjackings that occurred in the United States between 1993 and 2002.
  PDF (337K) | ASCII file (34K) | Spreadsheet (Zip format 60K) | Codebooks and Datasets | To order paper version
Part of the Carjackings in the United States Series

Terms & Definitions

Motor vehicle theft Stealing or unauthorized taking of a motor vehicle, including attempted thefts.
Completed motor vehicle theft - The successful taking of a vehicle by an unauthorized person.

Attempted motor vehicle theft - The unsuccessful attempt by an unauthorized person to take a vehicle.