Once Again California Leads The Nation In Auto Theft, And It's Not Even Close


Gearheads, think twice before moving to the Golden State.

The Golden State took eight spots on the National Insurance Crime Bureau's (NICB) annual Hot Spot report which profiles the top 10 US cities for auto theft. Now the agency points out that areas with lower populations and relatively higher theft rates will be higher up in the rankings as the results are counted per capita. That’s worth mentioning as the No. 1 city, Modesto (which was actually counted as the entire California county of Stanislaus), had “only” 4,072 thefts in 2015.

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San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward had 30,554 thefts yet due to its larger population that number was good for just fifth place. The only two cities that placed in the top 10 outside of California were Albuquerque, New Mexico, at No. 2 (6,657 car thefts in 2015) and Pueblo, Colorado, (983 thefts in 2015). For both cities it was quite the climb compared to the results from last year, with Albuquerque jumping 10 spots and Pueblo climbing 17. Unfortunately for Californians, a lot of the cities that made this year’s top 10 were also on the short list last year as well. In fact, the only California city not in the top 15 from last year was Merced (1,605 thefts in 2015), which climbed all the way up from 21st place to eighth in just one year.

Despite the fact that vehicle theft rose 1% from last year’s report the NICB notes that overall auto theft is on the decline nationwide. That’s good news, but it may be cold comfort to California’s car owners. You can check out the NICB’s full Hot Spot map for the entire country to see where your city ranks. The complete top 10 is as follows with 2015's thefts in parentheses: No. 1 Modesto, CA, (4,072) - No. 2 Albuquerque, NM, (6,657) - No. 3 Bakersfield, CA, (6,000) - No. 4 Salinas, CA, (2,934) - No. 5 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA, (30,554) - No. 6 Stockton-Lodi, CA, (4,656) - No. 7 Pueblo, CO, (983) - No. 8 Merced, CA, (1,605) - No. 9 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA (25,001) - No. 10 Vallejo-Fairfield, CA, (2,352)

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