Car thieves love California
Led by the Bay Area, the state is home to seven of top 10 metro areas for auto theft.
Led by the San Francisco Bay Area, California metropolitan areas top the nation in per capita auto theft, according to an insurance industry report.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau said this week that there were 29,093 car thefts in the San Francisco-Oakland- Hayward metro- politan area last year. That amounted to 633 vehicles stolen per 100,000 residents, making the area supplant Bakersfield as the worst region in the nation.
Bakersfield was second in 2014 with 5,211 thefts, or 596 per 100,000 residents. The Stockton- Lodi region gave California the top three spots on the list. It had 4,245 thefts last year or 593 per 100,000 residents.
Although vehicle thefts are well into a long- term decline, cars still get stolen daily. Older vehicles are stolen primarily for their parts, while newer, high- end vehicles often are shipped overseas and sold, the insurance group said.
Seven of the top regions for car theft are in California. Odessa, Texas, with 886 vehicles stolen, or a rate of 576 thefts per 100,000 residents, is fourth in the rankings.
The Los Angeles- Anaheim metro area ranked 39. It had 47,517 cars stolen last year, but that was 358 per 100,000 residents.
“California has always had more vehicles that any other state,” said Frank Scafidi, director of public affairs for the National Insurance Crime Bureau, “and that creates the environment for higher thefts.”
Nonetheless, vehicle theft in California has fallen to about half of what it was in the 1990s, Scafidi said. There were 159,271 thefts in California last year, down from 171,036 in 2013 and 257,543 in 2005.
Smart or transponder keys are responsible for much of the decline because they make vehicles harder to steal.
The rest of the top 10 regions for vehicle theft are Modesto; Spokane, Wash.; Vallejo- Fairfield, Calif.; Seattle- Tacoma; Fresno and Silicon Valley.
AN LAPD OFFICER takes pictures of a crime scene at Alameda and 103rd streets where a man in a stolen taxicab led police on a three- hour chase through the streets of South Los Angeles in April.