The future ain't what it used to be -- and neither is car theft. In fact, vehicle theft has been on the decline for the past seven years, and in 2010 it hit rates that haven't been seen since Lyndon Johnson was in office. (Translation: a long time.)
The news comes from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a nonprofit organization that aims "to prevent and combat insurance fraud and crime through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness". According to the NICB, 2010 stats from the FBI show a 7.2% decline in thefts from the 2009 total of 794,616 vehicles stolen.
Among 2010's improved cities were Dallas, Detroit, Miami, and New York City, all of which reported fewer thefts for the year. In fact, of the 366 areas surveyed, 257 showed a drop in crime.
The losers? Generally speaking: California and Washington state, which were home to the ten hottest spots for auto theft (though Los Angeles posted a decline for the year). In reverse order:
10. Yakima, WA
9. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
8. Visalia-Porterville, CA
7. Stockton, CA
6. Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville, CA
5. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA
4. Spokane, WA
3. Bakersfield-Delano, CA
2. Modesto, CA
1. Fresno, CA
But there's even some good news on that list: of those ten, the bottom five (Sacramento through Yakima) actually saw fewer vehicle thefts in 2010 than in 2009. The top five, however, saw increases.
Want to know how your hometown fared? Check out the NICB's Hot Spots Map -- or, if you have a couple of minutes to spare, you can watch the video report from the NICB's Roger Morris: