The good news is that vehicle theft is down for the seventh consecutive year. The bad news – if you live in California – is that the state holds an unenviable eight of the top 10 hot spots.
In a new report, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says that preliminary FBI estimates show that 2010 vehicle theft is down 7.2 percent from the 794,616 reported in 2009. While final statistics aren’t due until fall, the NICB says that if the estimate is on target, 2010 will turn out to be the year with the lowest annual vehicle thefts in 44 years -- since 1967.
As for the top 10 hot spots, they often include areas much larger than their city names indicate. The top five hot spots, which include four in California, actually showed an increase in vehicle thefts. The rest of the top 10 showed fewer thefts last year.
Here’s the bad-news ranking of the 2010 Top 10 Hot Spots, with the 2009 ranking in parentheses:1. Fresno, Calif. (5) – Maybe it’s a sign of the hard economic times, but Fresno (which includes all thefts within the county of Fresno and not just the city) catapulted to the number one spot from fifth place in 2009. A total of 7,559 thefts were reported in 2010, compared with 5,875 in 2009. Incidentally, Fresno was in 10th place in 2008. Car insurance must be really high in the Fresno area.
2. Modesto, Calif. (2) – No change in ranking for Modesto metropolitan statistical area, with 2010 vehicle thefts of 3,878 virtually the same as 2009’s 3,712 reported vehicle thefts. Still, the last two years are a big improvement from 2008, when Modesto ranked first with vehicle thefts of 4,235.
3. Bakersfield-Delano, Calif. (3) – Similarly, third-place Bakersfield-Delano has remained in the same spot for two consecutive years. In 2010, 5,623 vehicle thefts were reported, compared with 5,530 in 2009. But the area was in fifth place in 2008.
4. Spokane, Wash. (18) – The only one of the top five out of California is the area with the biggest jump in the rankings, moving to fourth place from 18th in 2009. Spokane metropolitan statistical area reported 2,763 vehicle thefts in 2010, compared with 2,218 in 2009. In 2008, Spokane was in 35th place.
5. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif. (16) – With 2,393 vehicle thefts reported in 2010, Vallejo-Fairfield moved into fifth place on the Top 10 Hot Spots list, up from 16th place in 2009 and 18th place in 2008.
6. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, Calif. (11) – Vehicle thefts reported in 2010 (11,881) are actually down slightly from 2009 numbers (11,906), but Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville still managed to move up five spots to number six hot spot. In 2008, the area was in 14th place.
7. Stockton, Calif. (4) – The Stockton metropolitan statistical area improved in 2010 relative to vehicle thefts, backing off three spots to seventh place with 3,779 thefts reported. In 2009, there were 4,479 vehicle thefts and in 2008, when the area was in sixth place, there were 4,963 vehicle thefts.
8. Visalia-Porterville, Calif. (8) – Same spot, but there are a bit fewer vehicle thefts for Visalia-Porterville for 2010 versus 2009 (2,409 versus 2,440). In 2008, the area ranked in 11th place, so moving up into the top 10 hot spots isn’t something residents are likely very pleased about.
9. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif. (7) – Vehicle thefts took a dive in the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metropolitan statistical area in 2010, with 22,617 – which still is a high number, all things considered – vehicle thefts reported. In 2009, when the area was in 7th place, there were 26,374 vehicle thefts.10. Yakima, Wash. (6) – The second of two areas in Washington State to make the Top 10 Hot Spots list for 2010 is Yakima, with 1,266 vehicle thefts reported for the year. In 2009, when there were 1,525 vehicle thefts, the area was in sixth place. But this is a huge improvement from 2008, when Yakima was in third place for vehicle thefts.
Keep your family cars safe by utilizing four layers of protection: lock all vehicles, install warning, immobilizing and tracking devices.