Park and Risk: Top 10 Hot Spots for Auto Thefts

VIDEO: Would-be thief accidently dials the police after an alleged heist.
ABCNEWS.com

Is your town a hot spot for car thieves looking for prey?

The National Insurance Crime Bureau released its annual Hot Spots for Vehicle Thefts, and once again Fresno, California takes the lead for stolen automobiles.

Not surprisingly, car owners looking to hang on to their vehicles might want to pay close attention to security details if they live in some metro areas in California where 7 of the 10 hot spots for auto thefts are located.

"California has been dominating the list for years," Frank Scafidi, a spokesperson for NICB told ABC News. "There are several reasons for this, not least of which is that there are just many more vehicles in CA than any other state and there are more people here than any other state, including auto thieves, so with that combination you get more vehicle theft activity."

"Also, CA's proximity to the Mexican border is a factor," he continued. "There are a lot of vehicles stolen from CA that are found within 100 miles of the border."

As for the type of vehicle criminals are looking for, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord are the two most common cars stolen, according to CCC Information Services, which tracks trends in auto theft.

While the New York City metro area failed to crack the top ten, it should be noted that more than 29,000 cars were stolen from the area in 2011. That's more cars than the top five cities combined. But, the auto theft rate is based on data compiled by NICB that looks at how many cars are stolen per 100,000 people.

Take a look at the top cities -based on theft rate- where you're most likely to park and never see your car again.

The National Crime Information Center discourages comparisons of cities using Uniform Crime Reporting statistics.

PHOTO: A neighborhood watch sign on a one-way street in Fresno, CA.
Getty Images
A neighborhood watch sign on a one-way street in Fresno, CA.
1.
Fresno, California

Fresno continues to hold the top spot for auto thefts. The car owners in the city, which has a population of a little around 500,000, have lost 7,621 vehicles to car thieves in 2011. The number is a slight decrease from the 7,559 cars stolen last year.

Theft Rate in 2011: 808.25

Total Cars Stolen: 7,621

Theft Rate in 2010: 812.4

PHOTO: A view of the archway leading into the city of Modesto, CA.
Jason Kirk/Getty Images
2.
Modesto, California

Despite its number 2 ranking for the second consecutive year, the number of automobiles that were stolen in 2011 is on a decline. In 2011, 3,315 cars were stolen from the city about 90 miles away from San Francisco, which is a decrease from 3,878 auto thefts in 2010.

Theft Rate in 2011: 639.32

Total Cars Stolen in 2011: 3,315

Theft Rate in 2010: 753.81

PHOTO: An overview of trailers parked in a trailer camp outside of Bakersfield, CA.
Visions of America/UIG/Getty Images
An overview of trailers parked in a trailer camp outside of Bakersfield, CA.
3.
Bakersfield-Delano, Cailifornia

In addition to auto woes, residents of this City experienced real estate woes as home values in the area plunged in 2011. But, there's some good news for car owners. The total cars stolen in 2011 shrunk to 5,240 from 5,623 in 2010.

Theft Rate in 2011: 615.23

Total Cars Stolen in 2011:5,240

Theft Rate in 2010: 669.7

PHOTO: An evening aerial view of the city lit in Spokane, Wa.
Getty Images
An evening aerial view of the city lit in Spokane, Wa.
4.
Spokane, Washington

Auto owners in Spokane, Washington should be excited to know there were less vehicles stolen in 2011. The number of cars stolen in 2011 was 2,614, a decline from 2,763 in 2010. Theft Rate in 2011: 551.75

Total Cars Stolen in 2011:2,614

Theft Rate in 2010: 586.35

PHOTO: A car drives down Young Grade Road along G&G Orchards near Yakima, Washington.
Jeff T. Green/Getty Images
A car drives down Young Grade Road along G&G Orchards near Yakima, Washington.
5.
Yakima, Washington

This suburb in Washington State landed on the list after car thieves made off with 1,308 automobiles. The figure is impressive for a state with a population of less than 100,000. The number of auto thefts was enough to increase the city's ranking from number 10 last year to number five.

Theft Rate in 2011: 529.25

Total Cars Stolen in 2011:1,308

Theft Rate in 2010: 520.49

PHOTO: A street view of a hill in San Francisco, Ca.
Getty Images
A street view of a hill in San Francisco, Ca.
6.
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, California

The area with a booming tech industry is also experiencing an increase in sticky fingers. The areas car theft rate in 2011 climbed up to three spots from its home at number 9 last year. The Good News: The total number of car thefts has decreased by about 600 since last year.

Theft Rate in 2011: 528.87

Total Cars Stolen in 2011:23,223

Theft Rate in 2010: 521.68

PHOTO: Cars drive through the downtown area in Stockton, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Cars drive through the downtown area in Stockton, California.
7.
Stockton, California

Stockton, California once again claimed the number 7 spot on the Hot Spot for Stolen Vehicles. Stockton, which was on the list of Top Ten Areas Hit Hardest by Tanking Home Values,saw auto thefts decline be around 200 in 2011.

PHOTO: Two South Carolina troopers make a traffic stop on S.C. 81 North in Anderson, S.C.
Ken Ruinard/Independent-Mail/AP Photo
Two South Carolina troopers make a traffic stop on S.C. 81 North in Anderson, S.C.
8.
Anderson, South Carolina

Last year, at least 911 car owners had good reason to call 9-1-1. The manufacturing area made its way to the top ten cities for auto thefts after failing to crack the top 30 in 2010 and 2009.

Theft Rate in 2011: 483.32

Total Cars Stolen in 2011:911

Theft Rate in 2010: 371.94

PHOTO: A pedestrian crosses Georgia Street in Vallejo, California.
David Paul Morris/Getty Images
A pedestrian crosses Georgia Street in Vallejo, California.
9.
Vallejo-Fairfield, California

Good news: this suburban area fell from its position of number 5 in 2010 to the position of number 9 for auto thefts. The area's car owners saw 390 less vehicles stolen in 2011, which was a hard year for real estate in the area.

Theft Rate in 2011: 480.71

Total Cars Stolen in 2011:2,002

Theft Rate in 2010: 578.69

PHOTO: An aerial view of house boats near Visalia, California.
Getty Images
An aerial view of house boats near Visalia, California.
10.
Visalia-Porterville, California

As car thefts in the area continue to shrink, this metropolitan area has managed to shed its ranking of number 8 for auto thefts. At its new ranking of number 10, the Visalia-Porterville area saw auto thefts decrease by nearly 300 in 2011.

Theft Rate in 2011: 472.78

Total Cars Stolen in 2011:2,124

Theft Rate in 2010: 544.8

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Share
Copy
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Salvager Eric Schmitt was combing through the wreckage of a convoy of Spanish ships that sank off the coast of Florida in 1715 when he discovered a missing piece from a gold Pyx.
Courtesy 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels, LLC
Lisa Kudrow
Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library | Getty Images
PHOTO: Motorists were startled when an axe from a dump truck in front of them flew at their windshield.
Massachusetts State Police/Facebook
PHOTO: In this April 26, 2013 photo, a large home intended for the family of Warren Jeffs is seen in Hildale, Utah.
Trent Nelson/The Salt Lake Tribune/AP
PHOTO: Zac Efron seen at BBC Radio One, April 24, 2014, in London.
Neil P. Mockford/GC Images/Getty Images