2011 is a faint memory by now, but crime statisticians are still taking notice, and one new report says that it appears the year will mark another in which auto theft fell.
Four of the top 10 metro areas tracked reported more thefts in 2011 and six reported fewer, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reports. California’s farm belt has the top three worst areas in the country for stolen cars on a per capita basis. All in all, rural California far from its tony coasts accounted for six of the Top 10.
Because the auto thefts are figured in relation to population, no wonder the list is dominated by small to medium-sized cities.
The FBI agrees about the trends. The FBI’s preliminary 2011 crime statistics released last week indicate a 3.3 percent drop in vehicle thefts from the 2010 number of 737,142. The NICB says contributing to this decline was the significant drop in the rankings of metro Laredo, Texas from Number 1 in 2009 to Number 53 in 2011. Within two years, Laredo’s thefts were down 53%, from 1,792 in 2009 to 849 in 2011.
For 2011, the 10 metro areas with the highest vehicle theft rates were:
San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, Calif.
The NICB, an anti-insurance fraud arm of the insurance industry, examines vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center for each of the nation’s metro areas.