It’s regular practice to lock your doors and secure items in the bed of your truck, but who would think to lock your tailgate? As it turns out, that is exactly what you need to start doing, as tailgate thefts are on the rise in the US. A combination of easy access and need for replacement due to damage makes the tailgate a hot theft item, especially from more common trucks. Not only does the model of truck matter
, but the state you’re driving in matters, too. While you may never think of having your tailgate stolen where you live, traveling to a state like California, Arizona, or Florida will greatly increase your odds, and driving stopping in Texas drives them through the roof.
Over the two-year period shown in the graphic above, Texas had 752 reported tailgate thefts. This number came from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, so the actual number of stolen tailgates is most likely much higher, as the cost of a new tailgate is often under most insurance deductibles, causing them to not be reported.
What Causes Tailgate Theft?
The basic driving factor behind tailgate theft is black market resale. The tailgate is one of the most easily damaged pieces of a truck, so owners are often looking for replacements. While a new tailgate can go for anywhere from $1,200 up to $3,500, a stolen tailgate can sell for a few hundred dollars.
What’s even worse is that many who fall victim to tailgate theft go right to those who steal them to buy a replacement due to the price of new ones. This drives the market and promotes more thefts. The other big reason tailgates are stolen is for scrap metal. This is commonly done on the black market as well with shady scrap dealers, as any respecting scrap yard would quickly call the police on such activity. Tailgates are easy to get to, take seconds to remove, and can be transported without too much attention. In short, availability is what drives tailgate theft.
How to Avoid Tailgate Theft
So how do you avoid getting your tailgate stolen? For starters, lock your tailgate if you can. While a locked tailgate can still be stolen, it takes more than the 7-10 seconds it takes to steal an unlocked one. Newer trucks are adding automatic locks to their tailgates so it locks with your doors, but most current trucks don’t have this yet.
There are products out there that can lock your tailgate to your truck via the hinges
, which are great, but still not foolproof. Basically anything you do will not stop someone determined to get your tailgate, but they are instead meant to make it time consuming and difficult so they either get caught or move on to another less-secure tailgate. Finally, you can avoid tailgate theft with a little smart thinking. When parking in a garage or other locations with walls, back into your parking spot so the tailgate is nice and close to the wall. This way, tailgate thieves can’t get to yours to steal it. IF you’re paring near a friend, back up to one another so each others truck block the other from theft. While it’s sad you have to think about theft like this, being aware of it is important and making sure you do what you can to prevent theft will keep your tailgate where it should be.