Auto Thefts in the United States Drop to 1967 Levels

While auto theft is on the decline nationwide, some areas are seeing increases.

While auto theft is on the decline nationwide, some areas are seeing increases. (image by

While auto theft continues to decline in the United States, extending the streak of falling levels for seven years straight, portions of the west coast saw increases in this criminal activity, and all of the top ten hotspots for car theft are in California or Washington state.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) preliminary 2010 crime statistics, there was a 7.2 percent decline in auto theft across the nation. If these numbers are confirmed in the final crime statistics, scheduled to publish this fall, it will mean auto theft is at its lowest point in the U.S. since 1967.

The top five hot spots for 2010 bucked the trend of decline, and actually posted an increase in thefts over the previous year. The bottom five areas on the top 10 list saw fewer thefts, however.

For 2010, the 10 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) with the highest vehicle theft rates were:

  1. Fresno, California
  2. Modesto, California
  3. Bakersfield-Delano, California
  4. Spokane, Washington
  5. Vallejo-Fairfield, California
  6. Sacramento/Arden-Arcade/Roseville, California
  7. Stockton, California
  8. Visalia-Porterville, California
  9. San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, California
  10. Yakima, Washington

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a not-for-profit organization funded by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and companies that are self-insured, is offering an interactive online tool that allows users to see the top ten MSAs for auto theft in each state.

“While improved anti-theft technology and law enforcement efforts have had a significant impact on thefts, professional criminal rings and gangs are active in parts of the country and stopping them is the ongoing challenge,” said NICB CEO and President Joe Wehrle.

About Cecil Helton

Cecil Helton Cecil Helton is a U.S.-based writer and editor with passions for cars, motorcycles, boats, technology and social media. Much of his professional life since 1996 has been web-centric, and he’s written and developed content on a variety of subjects. His work in the houseboat industry received wide acclaim, such as winning the 1999 Cisco Systems Growing with Technology award and being named one of five finalists in the manufacturing sector of the 2000 Computerworld-Smithsonian Awards. As an Air Force brat, he spent much of his childhood in a two-year cycle of moving to a new place, making new friends, establishing a life, and then moving again. Destinations included: Kentucky, Illinois, Texas, the Greek isle of Crete, California and Ohio. Today you’ll find Cecil coping with his 15 year old son’s decision to pursue a motorcycle license at the same time he gets his driver’s license, being active across the web on multiple social media sites, and of course, writing articles and creating content on automotive and car insurance related topics right here at

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