California Still the Hottest Spot for Car Theft

Stephen Elmer
by Stephen Elmer

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), almost all of the United States’ car theft hot spots are in California.

The new Hot Spots report shows that eight of the ten highest car theft areas in the U.S. are in California, based on a per capita finding. The NICB does point out that as a population-based survey, an area with smaller population with a moderate car theft rate will rank higher than a large city that has the population to absorb the thefts, but even when you drop the per capita equation, California still lays claim to the most overall car thefts in the U.S.

For 2015, the Modesto, Calif. area has the highest amount of car thefts per capita at 756 thefts per 100,000 residents, followed by Albuquerque, N.M at 733 per 100,000 residents, one of two hot spots that is not in California.

The third, fourth and fifth spots are all in California, consisting of Bakersfield (680 thefts per 100,000), Salinas (676 thefts per 100,000) and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward (656 thefts per 100,000), while the sixth worse is Stockton-Lodi (641 thefts per 100,000). Pueblo, Colo. is the other non-California hot spot, coming in with 600 thefts per 100,000 residents, while the final eighth, ninth and tenth positions are occupied by Merced (597 thefts per 100,000), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario (556 thefts per 100,0000) and Vallejo-Fairfield (539 thefts per 100,000).

SEE ALSO: Theft of Cars with Keys in Them on the Rise

The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif. area had the most total car thefts in 2015 with 57,247, followed by San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. with a total of 30,554 thefts.

On the other end of the spectrum, the least amount of car theft per capita takes place in Altoona, PA with 30 thefts per 100,000 residents. Moving up the list, the top five safe spots in the country consist of Glens Falls, NY at 30.73 thefts per 100,000 residents; Watertown-Fort Drum, NY at 32 per 100,000 residents; Kingston, NY with 32.75 thefts per 100,000; and finally Harrisonburg, VA sitting at 32.79 thefts per 100,000.

According to the NICB, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s preliminary data for 2015 shows a one percent increase in car theft in total across the U.S. This small increase aside, vehicle theft rates have dramatically dropped over the last several years according to the NICB.

Stephen Elmer
Stephen Elmer

Stephen covers all of the day-to-day events of the industry as the News Editor at AutoGuide, along with being the AG truck expert. His truck knowledge comes from working long days on the woodlot with pickups and driving straight trucks professionally. When not at his desk, Steve can be found playing his bass or riding his snowmobile or Sea-Doo. Find Stephen on <A title="@Selmer07 on Twitter" href="">Twitter</A> and <A title="Stephen on Google+" href="">Google+</A>

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  • Smartacus Smartacus on Jun 13, 2016

    honestly; who in their right mind would want to live in Kalifornistan? is it the lure of high taxation or burgers at Jack-In-The-Box?