Pickup tailgate thefts may seem an amusing nuisance to the casual observer, but if you use your truck for a living or are forced to replace the tailgate, it's far from a laughing matter. Tailgates on some new models cost upward of $1000, thanks to added mechanical and electronic subsystems such as backup cameras and locking mechanisms.

The addition of the more expensive components in newer-model tailgates has resulted in an explosion of thefts over the last few years, from just 16 specific reports of tailgate theft in 2009 to more than 400 reports the following year in 2010. The number of cases reported in 2011 was 472, and once all the data is compiled for 2012, the reported cases are projected to near 600, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the state topping the list for the most reported tailgate thefts is Texas, with 451 claims reported from January 2006 to the third quarter of 2012. California has the second-largest number of claims with 272 during the same period. The only non-Western state to make the top five list is Florida, with 86 cases reported.

Broken down on the basis of metropolitan area, once again, three out of the top five cities are in Texas, with Houston area taking first place with 96 cases, San Antonio coming in second at 70 cases, and the Dallas metropolitan area coming in third with 51 cases. Phoenix, Arizona and Fresno, California round out the top five list.

If you're the proud owner of a Ford F-Series, you might want to think about getting a tailgate lock, as three out of the five models with the most-reported tailgate thefts were Fords, with the 2008 and 2011 F-250 Super Duty taking first and fifth place, with the 2010 F-150 coming in second, and the 2007 and 2008 Chevrolet Silverado taking third and fourth place.

The NICB recommends pickup owners to purchase added anti-theft items in the form of tailgate hinge locks, manual latch locks, or remote locks wired in with door remote system. An additional recommendation is backing the truck up closely against a wall or other area making removal more difficult.

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau


Tailgate Theft Claims, Year
  Number of Thefts Reported
2008 3
2009 16
2010 430
2011 472
2012 557 (est)
Tailgate Thefts by State, 1/1/2006 - 9/30/2012
  Number of Thefts Reported
Texas 451
California 272
Arizona 125
Florida 86
Nevada 36
Tailgate Thefts by Metropolitan Area, 1/1/2006 - 9/30/2012
  Number of Thefts Reported
Houston, Texas 96
San Antonio, Texas 70
Dallas, Texas 51
Phoenix, Arizona 36
Fresno, California 31
Tailgate Thefts by Vehicle Model, 1/1/2006 - 9/30/2012
  Number of Thefts Reported
2008 Ford F-250 Super Duty 70
2010 Ford F-150 48
2007 Chevrolet Silverado 39
2008 Chevrolet Silverado 36
2011 Ford F-250 Super Duty 35