Report Shows Top 10 Vehicle Theft Locations in U.S.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) listed the 10 top locations in the U.S. where vehicles were stolen during 2011 in its annual “Hot Spots” report. Overall, NICB found that in 2011 vehicle thefts declined from 2010.

Out of the top 10 places where thefts occurred, seven of 10 are in California, two in Washington and one in South Carolina. The NICB uses the U.S. into Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, to break up the U.S. into areas where it tracks vehicle thefts.

For 2011, out of the top four locations where vehicles were stolen, there were 925 more thefts in those areas than in 2010. For the six remaining regions, there were 2,017 fewer thefts.

Vehicle thefts are tracked on a per capita basis, so an area with a small population and a moderate number of thefts will often have a higher theft rate than an area with a larger population.

The NICB said the FBI’s preliminary 2011 crime statistics recently released show a 3.3% drop in vehicle thefts, down from the 2010 number of 737,142. This decline is partially due to a significant drop in the rankings of the Laredo, Texas MSA, which was No. 1 in 2009, down to 53 in 2011.

Laredo was able to reduce the number of vehicle thefts in the area by 53%, from 1,792 in 2009 to 849 in 2011, according to the NICB. The list of the “Hot Spots” is shown below. It shows an area’s ranking for 2011 and its previous rank in 2010.

Region2011 Ranking2010 Ranking
Fresno, Calif. 1 1
Modesto, Calif. 2 2
Bakersfield-Delano, Calif. 3 3
Spokane, Wash. 4 4
Yakima, Wash. 5 10
San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont, Calif. 6 9
Stockton, Calif. 7 7
Anderson, S.C. 8 33
Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif. 9 5
Visalia-Porterville, Calif. 10 8

The NICB Hot Spots report uses vehicle theft data from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for each MSA. Each MSA actually includes a larger area than the cities they are named for. As an example, the NICB said the Fresno, Calif., MSA includes all thefts within the entire county of Fresno.


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