The National Insurance Crime Bureau recently released its annual U.S. Hot Spots vehicle theft report and California dominates once again.
Hot Spots is a per capita review of vehicle thefts from the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas. NICB data is in line with preliminary FBI vehicle theft data for 2012 which appears to end an eight-year downward trend in vehicle theft.
Final numbers will be published by the FBI in the fall, but preliminary 2012 FBI figures estimate a 1.3 percent increase in 2012 thefts from the previous year. Not surprisingly, eight of the top 10 areas are in California with the remaining two from the state of Washington.
The West region, defined by the FBI as the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming saw a 10.6 percent increase in vehicle thefts from 2011. The other regions of the country—Midwest, Northeast and South—reported reductions of 3.1, 7.9 and 2.9 percent, respectively.
For 2012, the 10 MSAs with the highest vehicle theft rates were:
1. Modesto, Calif.
2. Fresno, Calif.
3. Bakersfield-Delano, Calif.
4. Stockton, Calif.
5. Yakima, Wash.
6. San Francisco/Oakland/Hayward, Calif.
7. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
8. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.
9. Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash.
10. Redding, Calif.
Additionally, the NICB recommends four layers of protection to guard against vehicle theft:
Common Sense — The common sense approach to protection is the easiest and most cost-effective way to thwart would-be thieves. You should always:
Remove your keys from the ignition
Lock your doors /close your windows
Park in a well-lit area
Warning Device — The second layer of protection is a visible or audible device which alerts thieves that your vehicle is protected. Popular devices include:
Steering column collars
Steering wheel/brake pedal lock
Theft deterrent decals
Identification markers in or on vehicle
Micro dot marking
Immobilizing Device — The third layer of protection is a device which prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys. Other devices inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated. Some examples are:
Starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers
Wireless ignition authentication
Tracking Device — The final layer of protection is a tracking device which emits a signal to police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ “telematics” which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.