Calif. a Hot Market for Auto Theft

August 23, 2005

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reported this week that for calendar year 2004, California has once again set the pace for auto theft.

Seven of the nation’s top 10 areas with the highest vehicle theft rates are in California. The communities of Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona and Seattle-Everett-Bellevue, Washington round out the top 10.

For 2004 – with their 2003 ranking in parenthesis – the 10 metropolitan
statistical areas with the highest vehicle theft rates are:

1. Modesto, CA (1)
2. Stockton-Lodi, CA (3)
3. Las Vegas, NV (4)
4. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ (2)
5. Sacramento, CA (5)
6. Oakland, CA (7)
7. Visalia-Tulare-Porterville, CA (15)
8. San Diego, CA (9)
9. Fresno, CA (6)
10. Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA (11)

According to Hot Spots, its annual report on auto theft rates, NICB
reviewed data supplied by the National Crime Information Center(NCIC) for each of the nation’s 336 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). MSAs are designated by the Office of Management and Budget and may include areas surrounding a specific city.

For example, the number one Hot Spot in the current report is Modesto. The Modesto MSA, however, includes data not only from the city of Modesto, but the entire county of Stanislaus in which
Modesto is located.

The rate is determined by the number of vehicle theft offenses per 100,000 inhabitants using Census 2000 population figures.

Two cities – Detroit and Miami – fell from the list and were replaced by Visalia-Tulare-Porterville, CA and Seattle-Everett-Bellevue, WA ranked at 7 and 10, respectively. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ improved moving from second to fourth place while Stockton-Lodi and Oakland each moved up a notch from last year as did Las Vegas.

In 2004 there was a slight drop in auto theft nationally. Preliminary FBI
data shows a 2.6% decrease in motor vehicle thefts from 2003’s activity and that is good news for consumers, law enforcement and the insurance industry. This decrease comes after four years of steadily rising auto theft figures.

“The small reduction in auto thefts is good news for our member companies and the general public,” said NICB President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Bryant. “NICB has attacked this problem through expanded efforts with our member companies and law enforcement and by embarking on an aggressive public awareness campaign to educate and inform consumers of the many ways in which they can help prevent auto theft,” Bryant said.

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