Tailgate thefts becoming more common

Truck owners want to do everything in their power to keep vehicles safe and secure. While much of this will revolve around good off-road driving habits, owners will also want to be aware of steps they can take to avoid becoming the victim of theft.

Tailgate thefts are on the rise

According to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the theft of truck tailgates in the U.S. is hitting record levels. The Detroit News stated that more than 500 thefts of the truck bed gear were reported in 2012, and the instances have been steadily increasing since 2008, when only three thefts were claimed. Those numbers put it as the most popular target for thieves, both because it is relatively easy to take, and it easily broken.

"It's the No. 1 theft item on a pickup," Bob Hegbloom, of Ram Truck, told The Detroit News. "Typically, the thing that's damaged first on a pickup is the tailgate. People are always replacing those things."

Tailgates are a popular target because it doesn't require any fancy tools to steal them - all a criminal needs is the opportunity. Full-size Fords, such as the F-250, are frequently eyed by criminals, with the bulk of thefts taking place in Texas, according to The Car Connection. Vehicles like the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado also see a significant number of tailgate thefts.

How to prevent thefts

There are several ways truck owners can protect themselves from theft. The best way is to invest in some kind of a tailgate lock. Although these features are becoming more common on new models, owners of slightly older editions will want to purchase a separate system that can be installed as one of the smaller truck modifications. These devices should be locked every time a driver leaves a vehicle.

Simple actions like parking close to an object or structure to block access to a tailgate can also be helpful. When you back up to a building, there is no room to open the tailgate, which can prevent theft. Another easy undertaking is etching the vehicle identification number onto the tailgate itself, according to The Car Connection. All owners have to do is carve the VIN into the tailgate - it doesn't have to be large or visible, but it should be present. This can speed up the process of reclaiming a stolen item. Best lift kits for jeeps