While vehicle theft is on track to reach its lowest levels in nearly a half-century, the state of California now lays claim to more "hot spots" for the crime than ever. Golden State metropolitan areas occupy a record nine of the top 10 spots on the Des Plaines, Ill.,-based National Insurance Crime Bureau's annual top 10 list, which examines data from the National Crime Information Center.
Led by the Bakersfield, Calif., metro area — unseating last year's unfortunate victor, Modesto, Calif. — the only spot on the top 10 not occupied by the most populous state in the U.S. is No. 7, where the Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash., area ranks on this year’s all-West Coast-all-the-time roster.
California Residents Ask, 'Dude, Where's My Car?'
NICB notes that its population-based survey yields per capita theft rates for broad metropolitan statistical areas, so one area won't necessarily rank higher than another just because it has more residents. That's cold comfort for California, as its share of the car-theft pie continues to grow each year.
"Although California tends to place high in this report, this is the first time that California has held nine of the top 10 spots for MSAs with the highest per capita vehicle theft rates," NICB said in its report. "In 2012, it held eight and in 2011, seven."