The West Coast gets the not-so-great distinction of being the hot bed for car thefts in the U.S. This is according to an annual crime report released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
The most likely place to get your car stolen, the San Francisco Bay Area, which had the nation’s highest per capita vehicle theft rate in 2014. Nearly 30,000 vehicles were stolen in the Bay Area last year. It’s followed up by Bakersfield and Stockton-Lodi. In fact, only three cities not in California made the top ten theft list. Odessa, Texas comes in at number four, and Spokane Valley, Washington along with Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue come in at number six and eight respectively.
NICB 2014 Rankings
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. (29,093)
Bakersfield, Calif. (5,211)
Stockton-Lodi, Calif. (4,245)
Odessa, Texas (886)
Modesto, Calif. (3,047)
Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash. (3,032)
Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif. (2,414)
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash. (20,268)
Fresno, Calif. (5,260)
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. (10,531)
The NICB notes that although vehicle thefts are down dramatically around the nation, the reasons vehicles are stolen remain the same. Older vehicles are stolen primarily for their parts value while newer, highend vehicles often are shipped overseas or, after some disguising, sold to an innocent buyer locally.
The NICB offers these tips to guard against vehicle theft:
Use Common Sense — The common sense approach to protection is the easiest and most cost effective way to thwart would-be thieves. You should always remove your keys from the ignition, lock your doors and close your windows, and park in a well-lit area.
Use A Warning Device — Noise is a great deterrent. Popular devices include car alarms, steering column collars, steering wheel/brake pedal lock, brake locks, wheel locks, theft deterrent decals, identification markers in or on vehicle, VIN etching and micro dot marking.
Use An Immobilizing Device — Use a device which prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys. Other devices inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated. Some examples are smart keys, fuse cut-offs, kill switches, starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers, and wireless ignition authentication.
Install A Tracking Device — Finally, use a tracking device which emits a signal to police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Some systems employ “telematics” which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and track vehicle via computer.