California Tops List of Vehicle Thefts in Metro Areas

1 Jan 2018

Even though the rate of thefts has dropped over the past years because of increased awareness and better technology, there are still some areas that are not so hot for you to park your vehicle.

California metropolitan areas, particularly the San Francisco Bay area, are the leading areas of auto theft in the nation, based on an insurance industry report. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, there were over 29,000 vehicle thefts in the Oakland-Hayward-San Francisco metropolitan area the previous year. This meant that for every 100,000 residents, 633 cars were stolen.

There are four ‘layers of protection’ that are recommended by the NICB to guard against car theft:

Common Sense
Warning Device
Immobilizing Device
GPS Tracking Device

Common Sense

This approach is among the most cost-effective and easiest to prevent potential thieves. Basically, it’s removing your keys from the car’s ignition, locking your windows and doors, and parking in well-lit areas.

Warning Device

This next approach is placing some type of device in the car to alert thieves that your car is protected.  This can include devices such as audible alarms, brake locks, wheel locks, microdot marking, VIN etching or theft deterrent decals.

Immobilizing Device

This is a special device that prevents thieves from being able to bypass the ignition and hotwire your car. These include things like fuse cut-offs, smart keys, wireless ignition authentication and kill switches.

GPS Tracking Device

This GPS tracking device will emit a signal to the monitoring station or police in the event the car is stolen. These tracking devices help authorities recover the vehicle after its stolen. These tracking devices are important whether it is a personal vehicle stolen or part of a fleet business since they will alert the owner when the vehicle is moved and may be tracked through a computer.

Central and Northern California still continue to dominate the auto-theft Hot Spots report through NICB.  Written in the Insurance Journal are the 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the year 2014 that has the highest car theft rate were:

1.   Oakland-Hayward-San Francisco, California (Year 2014: 29,093; Year 2013: 29,326)
2.   Bakersfield, California (5,211; 6,267)
3.   Stockton-Lodi California (4,245; 4,245)
4.   Odessa, Texas (886; 764)
5.   Modesto, California (3,047; 3,565)
6.   Spokane/Spokane Valley, Washington (3,032; 3,205)
7.   Vallejo-Fairfield, California (2,414; 2,540)
8.   Seattle-Bellevue-Tacoma, Washington (20,268; 18,128)
9.   Fresno, California (5,260; 6,750)
10. San Jose-Santa Clara-Sunnyvale, California (10,531; 10,925)

It was no easy task to compile all the data, according to Director of Public Affairs, Frank Scafidi. Since there are often multiple towns in the MSAs, NICB staff had to carefully go through each one in order to find component police forces after which compute the total theft number for the MSA in a specific year.

The best way for drivers to prevent car theft is to remember to lock their windows and doors and when leaving their vehicles, take their keys with them. Also, follow the four ‘layers of protection’ above.



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