Car radios are rarely stolen because of the low resale value and difficulty in removing most radios and stereos from the dash of your vehicle.
- Old Technology
- Too Complicated
- Resale difficulty
- Little Value
- Better items to steal
If you owned a car 20 years ago, you likely had to keep your doors locked out of concern for your radio getting stolen. People don’t have that issue today. Thanks to new trends and modern technology, it’s a very rare occurrence for a car radio to be stolen today.
The popularity of theft is something that happens in cycles. Car radios aren’t nearly as popular of an item as they were decades ago, so thieves have very little interest in them now.
Stealing is still a significant risk, so if they’re going to take that risk, they want an item that’s worth it.
These are some of the reasons why nobody wants to steal a car radio anymore:
A lot of people don’t rely on their car radio to listen to music anymore. When people listen to the radio, they don’t get to choose their preferred music.
People want to make their own playlists these days; the radio itself is a dying entertainment form. Most people use their devices, like cell phones and mp3 players, to play music in the car. If you leave this in the car on show, it’s more likely to get stolen than the radio.
Many decades ago, radios were relatively easy to take out of a car. Modern vehicles are made differently, with the radio engineered into the car to make it more different from stealing.
If the thief doesn’t have very specific tools to remove the radio, it could require them to damage both the car and the radio to get it out. This would be a completely pointless theft for them.
Pawn Shops Don't Want Car Radios
Pawnshops have no interest in stolen goods. If anyone were to bring a car radio into their shop, they would assume it’s stolen and automatically turn it down.
Even if they didn’t assume it was a stolen item, they have no market for such a thing. If they even were to offer cash for the item, it won’t be very much money.
Realistically, one of the only places a thief would be able to resell the stereo would be on an online platform such as Facebook market place or eBay. As you can see from our research, there’s a little bit of value, especially in Double DIN head units which are slightly more desirable.
Overall, after fees and postage, it is unlikely to be worth the risk, and there are probably more lucrative items in the car to steal than head units and stereos, as we will discuss further.
~ $10 – $60
~ £10 – £25
~ $40 – $200
~ £20 – £100
(eBay.co.uk & eBay.com)
Car radios used to be worth a lot of money, so when someone could afford one, it was a big deal. Over the past couple of decades, the car radio has had a lot of competition from modern technology. This has caused the industry to lower their prices so they can continue getting sales.
It’s much easier for people today to find a good quality radio system for an affordable value. Many systems will sell for under $350 (£300) new, which is a lot more realistic than the thousands they cost back in the 90s.
Therefore, the resale value is much lower, as you can see from the single DIN radios sold on eBay below.
Do Car Radios Still Get stolen? So What Does?
Car radios don’t get stolen as frequently anymore due to a drop in vehicle-related theft from the height in the 90s.
This doesn’t mean you need to be less careful with your vehicle’s belongings, as there was still an estimated 872,000 car-related crimes in 2015 alone, according to the metropolitan police.
Some of the top items of theft from in and around the vehicle, according to Zuto.com include:
- Electronic items
- Bags left in full view
- Number plates!
- Alloy wheels
- Catalytic converters
Some general tips involve common sense and just making sure anything of value is not left in the car or is at least out of sight. If you are particularly considered about your radio, many Single DIN units have un-clipable screens to be placed in the glove box or removed from the vehicle while you are not using it.
Final Thoughts: How Often Are Car Radios Stolen?
While people still break into cars, these days, it’s not the radio that they are after. Technology has changed so much over the past few decades, and thieves don’t want to risk it for an old item that isn’t worth much money.
The fact that it’s nearly impossible to remove the radios makes them less likely to be stolen. Thieves only want items they can get money for, quickly and easily. Having to remove or unscrew a car radio from the dash quickly without people seeing and the alarm going off at the same time would be a brazen move. As we’ve already said, they are more likely to pick an easier, quicker target for easy money, such as electronics, bags and tools.
We hope you’ve learnt something about how often car radios get stolen; best of luck and stay safe!