California vehicle theft rates lowest since 1996
Vehicle theft rates in California continue their three year decline, but it's still a good idea to lock your Toyota pickup. That vehicle has topped the most stolen list every year since 1984.
Recently released CHP statistics show a 12.2 percent drop in 2008 alone, the largest such decrease in more than 10 years.
In addition to the decrease in thefts, the numbers for recovered vehicles are also encouraging. Law enforcement agencies were able to recover 86.6 percent of the 199,766 vehicles stolen in 2008.
"Even with the decrease in vehicle theft, the economic loss to Californians continues to exceed $1 billion," said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. "I applaud the work of our officers as well as police officers and sheriff's deputies throughout the state to reduce the incidences of vehicle theft. With the continued efforts of California law enforcement agencies, coupled with prevention efforts by the public, we hope the numbers will continue to fall with each passing year."
Southern California counties from Los Angeles to San Diego saw 55.8 percent of the state's vehicle thefts. Sierra County stands out with a 100 percent reduction in thefts.
"The cheapest form of defense is to simply employ the anti-theft devices that are standard on all vehicles: locks," says Commissioner Farrow. "Lock your car and take your keys.
CHP also recommends the following:
- Park in well-lit, populated areas
- Don't warm up or leave your vehicle running unattended
- Consider a visible or audible device that alerts thieves the vehicle is protected
- Immobilizing devices prevent thieves from bypassing the ignition and hotwiring a vehicle
- Tracking devices can be very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles