Auto theft is on the rise in Hanford. The number of stolen cars is up 20 percent compared to this time last year and arrests are up 300 percent, according to police.
Angel Juarez isn’t taking any chance with his Honda Civic, “we take the steering wheel off and we put a lock on it and we close it,” Juarez added.
Juarez lost 3 cars in 3 years. All of them, he says, were stolen, “sucks, sometimes it’s like, when we work on them like these, we put a lot of money into them.”
The extra steps protect his investment, but other cars on the street don’t get the same treatment. In Hanford, 42 cars were stolen in October, which is significantly higher than last year– only 8 disappeared in October of 2014. Police Chief Parker Sever says Honda Accords and Civics from the early 90’s are the targets. “Most of the time, they’re not stripped or significantly damaged,” Chief Sever said, “it appears that they seem to be taking them to get from point A to point B.”
Rich Hudson says his Civic was stolen twice. The first time was in June, it was recovered at a chop shop 3 days later. It was taken again last month and dropped off at a Home Depot. Hudson said, “We hear alarms all the time and no one pays attention to them anymore, so I put a kill switch in it.”
Chief Sever says the problem seems to be Prop 47. He says officers are arresting more auto thieves, but the crime isn’t slowing down. “They know if it’s not a valuable car that really, they’re probably just gonna get a ticket for it, it’s a misdemeanor crime,” Chief Sever said.