California is home to nine of the 10 regions in the U.S. with the highest rate of auto thefts as criminals target San Francisco and its surrounding cities. The Bakersfield, Fresno and Modesto regions in California were the three most susceptible. The state had eight of the top hot spots in 2012 and seven in 2011, NICB said. “We have an international border and we also have our ports” contributing to auto theft, Fran Clader, a spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol, said in phone interview. “We have dense population areas where there are these vehicles that present opportunities for thieves.”
The Harrisonburg, Virginia-area had the lowest rate among more than 300 regions tracked by the NICB, with 21 per 100,000 people. The Spokane, Washington, region was the only city arithmetical area in the top 10 that isn’t in California.
NICB predictable nationwide vehicle thefts dropped about 3 to 4 percent in 2013 from a year earlier, Frank Scafidi, a spokesman for the insurance-industry group, said in a phone interview. Better revival technology and car-safety features may have pushed thefts down to their lowest level since 1967, NICB said, citing preliminary figures.
Vehicle defense specialists at the NICB said to park in well-lit areas and use audible alarms and kill switches to guard from auto theft. Owners can also install tracking devices to help law enforcement recover stolen autos.