Did you know that one of the most stolen items from a full-size pickup is the tailgate? According to a recent story in the Detroit News, the National Insurance Crime Bureau says that tailgate thefts are becoming more common for many reasons, not the least of which is how easy many tailgates are to remove; sometimes removal can be done without a tool. In addition, tailgates equipped with backup cameras or tailgate steps make them quite valuable to black-market auto parts dealers. Although the total numbers are not huge, certain areas in the U.S. (where pickup trucks are more common) are seeing a growing trend.
There are several companies that make products specifically designed to prevent this kind of theft, but criminals are becoming more clever. Thankfully, just about every truck maker offers a manual locking tailgate (standard on some trim packages, it uses the ignition key), but Ram is the only manufacturer to offer a one-touch "lock down" feature on certain models that allows the owner to lock the doors, RamBox (if equipped) and the tailgate with a key fob. Although the new GM half-ton pickups and new Toyota Tundra offer only manual locking tailgates, we expect more truck makers to incorporate electronic, one-touch locking tailgates in the future.
There are several companies that offer small locking devices you can physically attach to your tailgate's lower pivot points (you could even get creative and make one yourself with some hose clamps), as well as more expensive electronic models that can be installed inside your truck's gate and activated via a new key fob. If you want to make upgrades to your older truck, start by looking at products from companies like Master Lock and Pace Edwards.