Fewer vehicles reported stolen in California in 2013

Staff ReportsJune 25, 2014 

California saw a slight decrease in vehicle theft in 2013. The two percent decline is a positive sign for the state, following an 11 percent surge in vehicle theft in 2012. According to statistics compiled by the California Highway Patrol, more than 171,000 vehicles were stolen statewide in 2013, which is an estimated value of $1 billion.

“A combination of advances in technology, aggressive police work by all law enforcement agencies involved in joint auto theft task forces, and preventative measures by the public are making it more difficult for thieves to steal a vehicle,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.

Among the vehicles stolen last year in California, 58.9 percent were automobiles, 25.8 percent were personal trucks and vans, 4.5 percent were commercial trucks and trailers, and 4.4 percent were motorcycles. All other vehicles (recreational, construction and farm equipment, and special construction) accounted for 6.4 percent of vehicles stolen.

Southern California continues to be a hotbed for car thieves, with nearly half of all vehicle thefts occurring in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties. In fact, Los Angeles County accounted for nearly one quarter of all vehicle thefts. Car thieves in Northern California, specifically the San Francisco Bay Area, accounted for 18.9 percent of all thefts.

The Honda Accord continues to be the car that thieves most love to steal, ranking as the number one stolen vehicle statewide. Toyota pickup trucks are also popular with thieves and have consistently, since 1984, been the most frequently stolen pickup truck.

“Vehicle theft is a crime of opportunity,” added Farrow. “The last thing anyone should do is make it easier for or enable criminals. The public can take a few extra precautions with their vehicles and decrease the odds of becoming a victim.”

These simple deterrents can be used to prevent vehicle thefts:

• Park in a secure or highly visible location.

• Lock vehicle doors.

• Use an alarm system.

• Do not leave a car running unattended.

For more information about vehicle theft trends and statistics noted by the CHP, the 2013 California Vehicle Theft Fact Sheet can be accessed on the home page of the CHP’s Web site at www.chp.ca.gov in the information and resources portion, under vehicle theft fact statistics.

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