By Leon Worden, SCVNews.com
California is making progress in its ongoing battle with auto thieves. According to recently released statistics from the California Highway Patrol, last year 156,796 vehicles were stolen in California, a 1.3 percent reduction from 2010. The rate of vehicle theft in California has dropped since 2006, a positive trend attributed to enforcement, education, and advancing theft deterrent technologies employed by the automotive industry.
In addition to vehicles becoming more difficult to steal, the strategic deployment by law enforcement of bait cars and license plate reader systems, joint task force operations, vehicle theft training, and district attorney cooperation have all contributed to this decline.
“Anti-theft technology and police work throughout the state are having a strong impact on auto thieves,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “One of the most important players in auto theft prevention is the public; their efforts help keep them from becoming a victim.”
According to the 2011 vehicle theft statistics compiled by the CHP, the 1994 Honda Accord was the top theft target among auto thieves in California. When it came to trucks, the 1988 Toyota pickup continued to be a common target and the 2007 Suzuki remained popular among motorcycle thieves.
Location also plays a factor in determining vehicle theft risk. Southern California remains a hotspot for thieves with approximately 52.3 percent of all thefts occurring in the area; Los Angeles County accounted for more than half of that total with 28.2 percent.
Of the vehicles reported stolen last year, 84.9 percent were recovered; however, the economic loss to Californians continues to be approximately $1 billion dollars annually.
“Vehicles play an essential role in the daily routine for many Californians,” added Commissioner Farrow. “By working together to deter auto thieves, we can continue to have a positive impact and continue to keep criminals from disrupting our lives.”
The following preventative measures may lessen the likelihood that your vehicle will become a target of auto thieves:
- Never leave a spare key with your vehicle;
- Store spare keys in a concealed location within your home;
- Close all windows and lock all doors;
- Park in a well-lit area;
- When possible, park your vehicle in your garage;
- Do not leave valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen;
- Never leave a running vehicle unattended;
- Install theft prevention products and recovery systems in your vehicle.