2017-06-15 / Local News

Central Valley sees spike in car thefts

Six metropolitan areas in California ended up on a list of the highest car theft rates in the nation over the course of 2016, according to a nonprofit which tracks insurance data.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released its latest Hot Spots report, and three of the California cities listed in the top 10 of the report aren’t far from Mariposa: Modesto (No. 4 with 3,820 thefts), Merced (No. 7 with 1,605) and Fresno (No. 9 with 5,682) each had high numbers of theft.

As a population-based survey, an area with a much smaller population and a moderate number of thefts can — and often does — have a higher theft rate than an area with a much more significant vehicle theft problem and a larger population to absorb it.

The other California cities included Bakersfield (No. 3 with 7,176), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario (No. 5 with 25,708) and San Francisco Oakland-Hayward (No. 8 with 29,414).

Hot Spots examines vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for each of the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSA). MSAs are designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and often include areas much larger than the cities for which they are named. For example, this year’s number one spot, the Albuquerque, New Mexico

MSA includes all thefts within the entire county of Bernalillo, not just the city of Albuquerque.

NICB representatives encourage taking a common sense approach as the best prevention against car theft. Drivers should always remove keys from the ignition when getting out of the car, lock doors and close windows and park in a well-lit area.

The second layer of protection is a visible or audible device which alerts thieves that a vehicle is protected. Several other tips for keeping thieves away are available, along with the full Hot Spots report, at www.nicb.org.

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