According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, car theft fell for the seventh consecutive year in 2010, and is now at levels not seen since 1967. Overall, car thefts fell by 7.2 percent from 2009 to 2010, but the news isn’t all good. Car thefts in the top five hotspots actually increased from 2009 to 2010, and four of those top five hotspots are located in California. In fact eight out of the top ten are located in the Golden State, with the remaining two high theft locations in Washington.
Where are you most likely to get you car stolen? Here’s a top ten list of places not to park overnight, complete with their theft rate per 100,000 vehicles. Just so you have a baseline for comparison, the average theft rate for all the cities on the list is 196.7 per 100,000 vehicles.
1) Fresno, CA, 812.4
2) Modesto, CA, 753.8
3) Bakersfield – Delano, CA, 669.7
4) Spokane, WA, 586.4
5) Vallejo – Fairfield, CA, 578.7
6) Sacramento – Arden – Arcade – Roseville, CA, 552.8
7) Stockton, CA, 551.4
8) Visalia – Porterville, CA, 544.8
9) San Francisco – Oakland – Fremont, CA, 521.7
10) Yakima, WA, 520.5
Some simple math shows that your chance of having a car stolen in Fresno is over 4 times greater than the national average, and even Yakima residents are over 2.5 times more likely to wake up to an empty parking space.
The NICB points out that a little prevention goes a long way. Always remove your keys from the ignition, lock your car and park in a well-lit area. Consider layered security (a combination of alarm, steering column lock, VIN etching, etc.), especially if you live in a high theft area. Remember that car thieves are as lazy as the rest of us, and will always target the car that’s easiest to steal. You can beat the odds by making sure your car is harder to swipe than your neighbors.