Calif., Wash. Lead Nation in Car Thefts

June 21, 2011

While car thefts nationwide have declined, the western states have the uneviable distinction of having the most car thefts in the nation.

According to a new report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the top 10 spots for car thefts were in California and Washington. Fresno, Calif., topped the list of the most car thefts per metropolitan statistical area, at 7,559 in 2010. The cities on the top 10 list had more than 64,000 thefts in 2010:

1.Fresno, Calif.;

2.Modesto, Calif.;

3.Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.;

4.Spokane, Wash.;

5.Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.;

6.Sacramento/Arden-Arcade/Roseville, Calif.;

7.Stockton, Calif.;

8.Visalia-Porterville, Calif.;

9.San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, Calif.; and

10.Yakima, Wash.

“While improved anti-theft technology and law enforcement efforts have had a significant impact on thefts, professional criminal rings and gangs are active in parts of the country and stopping them is the ongoing challenge,” said NICB CEO and President Joe Wehrle.

Roger Morris, vice president/chief communications officer for the NICB, noted that California only had one metropolitan area in the top 10 ranking just 10 years ago. But was up to 6 in 2009, and added two more to the list in 2010. Laredo, Texas, which was No. 1 in 2009 has dropped out of the top 10 list. Spokane, Wash., at No. 4, is a newcomer to the list.

Overall, however, nationwide thefts continue to decline. And if the results continue, could show the lowest vehicle thefts since 1960, he said.

The full Hot Spots report is available at

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