The National Insurance Crime Bureau had good news and bad news for U.S. car owners Tuesday - the good news is that theft rates were down 2.1 percent in the first half of 2005 compared to 2004, marking the second straight year of theft decline. The bad news? If you live in the West, you're in car thief heaven.

In 2005, the ten metropolitan areas with the worst auto theft records were west of the Rockies, with California laying claim to six of the top ten. Here's the full list:
   1. Modesto, CA
   2. Las Vegas/Paradise, NV
   3. Stockton, CA
   4. Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, AZ
   5. Visalia/Porterville, CA
   6. Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue, WA
   7. Sacramento/Arden-Arcade/Roseville, CA
   8. San Diego/Carlsbad/San Marcos, CA
   9. Fresno, CA
  10. Yakima, WA

As you might expect, the NICB has recommendations to help you hang on to your ride, including the use of warning and immobilizing devices. You can read about their "layered approach" to protection here.

If your city didn't make the top ten, you can find out  where it ranks and how many vehicles were boosted last year by checking the NICB web site, here.