• Jun 22, 2012
Following a few simple tips can keep thieves at bay (Ge... Following a few simple tips can keep thieves at bay (Getty Images).
If you want to keep your car in your possession, we recommend that you don't spend too much time in these 10 cities.

A recent report by Forbes that compares the number of stolen cars per 100,000 population found that of the Top 10 cities for car theft, six of them are in California, including the top three. Fresno, CA topped the list with 808 stolen cars per 1,000 people. Second place is Modesto, CA and third is Bakersfield, CA.

Other cities on the list include Spokane and Yakima, WA and, ironically, Anderson, SC, nicknamed the "Friendliest City in South Carolina."

Below are the full results and some tips for preventing theft.

2011 Thefts And Rate Per 100,000

1. Fresno, CA - 7,621; 808.25
2. Modesto, CA - 3,315; 639.32
3. Bakersfield, CA - 5,240; 615.23
4. Spokane, WA - 2,614; 551.75
5. Yakima, WA - 1,308; 529.25
6. San Francisco, CA - 23,223; 528.87
7. Stockton, CA - 3,532; 507.32
8. Anderson, SC - 911; 483.32
9. Vallejo, CA - 2,002; 480.71
10. Visalia, CA - 2,125; 472.78

A vehicle is stolen every 33 seconds in the United States. And many of those thefts could be prevented.

That's a pretty sobering thought, especially given that only about 57% of those vehicles end up being recovered. Drivers need to be ever vigilant in protecting their car from thieves.

Amazingly, a large number of thefts come from stupid owner behavior. Some 40 of thefts were the result of driver error, like leaving keys in the ignition or leaving the doors unlocked.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a trove of statistics from 2008 regarding vehicular theft in the United States. Much of the information can help drivers ensure that their car doesn't become one of the nearly 1 million that were reported stolen three years ago.

Certain vehicles and areas more prone to car theft

The NHTSA statistics show that certain models of cars are stolen more than others. Interestingly, instead of fancy sports cars or expensive SUVs, most stolen cars – 72% in fact – are run-of-the-mill passenger cars. In 2008, the top ten stolen vehicles were: the Dodge Magnum, Pontiac Grand Prix, Dodge Charger, Mitsubishi Galant, Chrysler 300, Hyundai Azera, Chrysler Sebring, Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler PT Cruiser and Hyundai Sonata.

And though no one is safe from vehicle theft, the statistics show that living in certain places could make you more prone to having your car stolen. According to the data, the top ten states for vehicular theft are: California, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Georgia, Nevada, Maryland, North Carolina, Arizona, Missouri and New Jersey.

Both NHTSA and Consumer Reports couldn't comment about why certain states and vehicles are prone to theft, so we are left to speculate on the reasoning behind these trends.

Thieves want your parts, too

Given that thieves can make tons of money by selling off individual parts, it's no surprise that they will often target a car simply for its components. And we're not talking just radios and wheels. NHTSA describes certain car components as "hot parts," which are parts that thieves are particularly interested in. The list includes air bags, batteries, catalytic converters, GPS units, DVD entertainment systems and items left visible in your car such as iPods, computers and purses.

NHTSA has instituted a parts-marking system to help deter component theft. These federal rules require automakers to place a vehicle's VIN on certain parts so they can be more easily tracked in the case that they are stolen. However, these "hot parts" do not fall under NHTSA's regulatory responsibility, thus they don't have any identification markings that could make them easier to recover. So, odds are that if you have a "hot part" stolen, you're not going to see it again.

Use common sense

Above all else, NHTSA recommends simply using common sense as a defense against car theft. When parking and exiting your vehicle, try to run through a short checklist in your mind:

-Do I have the key?
-Are the doors and windows shut and locked?
-Am I parked in a well-lit area?
-Are there any valuables that could be seen?

Additionally, NHTSA urges drivers to park in their garage, not the driveway, whenever possible and to never, for any reason, leave the area while a vehicle is still running.

Bottom Line: No one is safe from vehicular theft, but you could be more prone to it if you live in certain places or drive a certain car. Use common sense when parking or leaving your car for the night. Make sure you lock up, hide your valuables and never leave the area while your car is running.

Related:



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 14 Comments
      LL
      • 2 Years Ago
      I had a very successful career as a car dealer. In my early 50’s, I've retired from the car business and purchased a beautiful home and many acres of land. Unfortunately, the land market took a turn for the worse and suddenly I found myself in debt and unable to pay my bills. At my age, no one would hire me, so I began to look for a business that I could run from home. After looking at many possibilities, I decided that this opportunity ( http://bit.ly/SmartLiving ) had the most income potential. Starting $50000 in debt, in only one year I had paid off all of my debts, and built a business that now pays me over $8000 monthly. I must say without a doubt that this program is the best program on the net and had change my living lifestyle!
      ALARMTEK
      • 2 Years Ago
      www.CARPROTECTOR.com (Been doing this along time!)
      • 1 Year Ago
      www.lockandkeytracy.com
      gwahl34
      • 2 Years Ago
      Seems like the chicano ares are always #1
      • 2 Years Ago
      Many younger women are looking to date older guys, mainly because older guys are relatively more successful in career and understand better how to treat their women. Many couples with age gap work out fine and get alone splendidly. ( Agelessdate _℃OM ) is a focused community for older men dating younger women. If you are ready for a new adventure, give them a try!
      • 2 Years Ago
      i watched a ladie in the corner store by my house leave car running come in the store she grabed a six pack of beer and went to walk out and as she turned towards the door she dropped her six pack it busted and then I noticed that her car was driving away without her.
      • 2 Years Ago
      and u can see most of the cities are in Cali by the ocean. its ovious there shipping these cars out the country.
      • 2 Years Ago
      At least my city isn't number one anymore -- we're number two! Way to go Modesto.
      • 1 Year Ago
      segments of economically challenged (poor) areas of whites and minorities. As things get more desperate for everyone it's just easier for the stupid and lazy asses from every area to just steal from someone else. Hey, NHTSA and consumer reports lets cut some switch back trails so all of you can get your heads out of your asses and wake up and see the common denominator in all of these states. Poorer populations from all walks of life + no jobs + http://www.picksquadlocksmith.com or http://www.lockandkeytracy.com
      occultist1521
      • 2 Years Ago
      OK first off is the stupidity level that keeps rising in this country every minute. They list 11 states for the top 10 so obviously people can't count. That being said take a look at the top ten states all crappy, broke or going broke states with high taxes and/or high cost of living. Each and every one with large segments of economically challenged (poor) areas of whites and minorities. As things get more desperate for everyone it's just easier for the stupid and lazy asses from every area to just steal from someone else. Hey, NHTSA and consumer reports lets cut some switch back trails so all of you can get your heads out of your asses and wake up and see the common denominator in all of these states. Poorer populations from all walks of life + no jobs + desperation + laziness/lack of education + dumb ass politicians in these 11 (or 10 depending on what kind of addition you are doing) states who don't make things better for anyone but themselves = states and areas of states that have higher crimes in general but specifically auto theft, robbery, and burglery.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Won't be long if the liberals continue the entire US will be CA
      wllharrington
      • 2 Years Ago
      The list has ten cities, most from the West Coast, then in the listing of states they have states which have none of the ciies on the list and many are on the East Coast. They then say that 'run of the mill' passenger cars are the most stolen, then they lest Dodge Charger, Chrysler 300 and Sebring among others, none of which I consider run of the mill.
    • Load More Comments