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California Leads Nation Again in Vehicle Thefts

Posted on 26 Jun 2013 by Neilson

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Auto theftsThe National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its annual Hot Spots vehicle theft report and California dominates once again. Hot Spots is a per capita review of vehicle thefts from the nation's metropolitan statistical areas (MSA). NICB data is in line with preliminary FBI vehicle theft data for 2012 which appears to end an eight-year downward trend in vehicle theft.

Final numbers will be published by the FBI in the fall, but preliminary 2012 FBI figures estimate a 1.3 percent increase in 2012 thefts from the previous year. Not surprisingly, eight of the top 10 areas are in California with the remaining two from the state of Washington.

The West region, defined by the FBI as the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming saw a 10.6 percent increase in vehicle thefts from 2011. The other regions of the country-Midwest, Northeast and South-reported reductions of 3.1, 7.9 and 2.9 percent, respectively.

For 2012, the 10 MSAs with the highest vehicle theft rates were:

 2012 Ranking    2011 Ranking 
 1  Modesto, Calif.  2
 2  Fresno, Calif.  1
 3  Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.  3
 4  Stockton, Calif.  7
 5  Yakima, Wash.  5
 6  San Francisco/Oakland/Hayward, Calif.  6
 7  San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.  20
 8  Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.  9
 9  Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash.  4
 10  Redding, Calif.  40

NICB's Hot Spots report examines vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for each of the nation's MSAs. MSAs are designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and often include areas much larger than the cities for which they are named. For example, the Modesto, Calif., MSA includes all thefts within the entire county of Stanislaus, not just the city of Modesto.

As a population-based survey, an area with a much smaller population and a moderate number of thefts can-and often does-have a higher theft rate than an area with a much more significant vehicle theft problem and a larger population to absorb it.