California: Capital of Car Thefts

California: Capital of Car Thefts

California is the nation’s capital of car thefts.

Nine of the top ten cities in the country plagued by car thefts are in California, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau authored the list. Cities in the Central Valley are particularly susceptible to getting their vehicles stolen; Bakersfield leads all other cities with 725 thefts per 100,000 residents, while Modesto has 678. San Francisco has the third highest rate with 649, followed by Stockton with 634. Redding, Vallejo, San Jose, and Yuba City round out the list.

Spokane, Washington, the only city in the top ten not in California, ranks seventh.

Frank Scafidi, a spokesman for the National Insurance Crime Bureau, told the Times there are a number of factors contributing to California’s status as a car theft hot-spot.

“California has always had the most auto thefts since we have been taking statistics starting in the early 1960’s,” he said. “That is because it has many more vehicles than any other state in the country.”

Scafidi also explained that the state’s proximity to the border with Mexico plays a factor in thefts.

“A lot of vehicles get driven into Mexico, where they are sold,” he said.

Despite the grim picture of California as a car theft haven, national theft numbers have decreased steadily since 1991, when they reached a peak of 1.7 million. Last year, 667,979 car thefts were reported, a 58% decrease from 1991.