California becomes more golden for auto thieves – USA TODAY
LOS ANGELES — When it comes to auto theft, more Californians are asking “Dude, where’s my car?”
The Golden State holds nine out of 10 of the nation’s “hot spots” when it comes to auto theft, the National Insurance Crime Bureau reports. The top three spots are all in California’s less populous farm belt — Bakersfield, Fresno and Modesto.
The San Francisco metro area shows up fourth. Greater Los Angeles didn’t make the list.
The only non-California metro area on the Top 10 list is Spokane and Spokane Valley in Washington state at No. 7.
NICB notes that its population-based survey yields per capita theft rates for broad metropolitan statistical areas, so one area won’t necessarily rank higher than another just because it has more residents. That’s not much comfort for Californians, as their share of the car-theft pie continues to grow each year.
“Although California tends to place high in this report, this is the first time that California has held nine of the top 10 spots for (metro areas) with the highest per capita vehicle theft rates,” NICB said in its report. “In 2012, it held eight and in 2011, seven.”
Still, if the most recent data available from the FBI covering the first six months of 2013 holds for the balance of the year, the national car-theft rate will re-embark on a downward trend that went unbroken for eight years until a small spike in 2012. Currently, the first half of last year is showing a 3.2% dip and could wind up logging the fewest car thefts since 1967.
Here are the NICB’s top 10 car-theft hot spots for 2013, followed by those areas’ previous ranks in 2012:
1. Bakersfield, Calif. (3)
2. Fresno, Calif. (2)
3. Modesto, Calif. (1)
4. San Francisco/Oakland/Hayward, Calif. (6)
5. Stockton-Lodi, Calif. (4)
6. Redding, Calif. (10)
7. Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash. (9)
8. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif. (8)
9. San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, Calif. (7)
10. Yuba City, Calif. (31)
Woodyard reported from Los Angeles and Schmitz from Chicago.