The state of California has garnered quite a reputation in a large number of categories. It’s the most populous state in the country. It’s one of the entertainment Meccaâ€™s on the planet. And it is known around the world for its tourist attractions, mountains and beaches, and diversity of people and ideas.
Unfortunately, it is also referred to as the “car theft capital of America.”
Eight out of 10 Auto Theft Hot Spots Are in California
The National Insurance Crime Bureau recently released its report on the U.S. cities which recorded the highest rates of auto thefts in 2011. Out of the top ten cities, eight of them hail from right here in the Golden State. The top four slots all have California addresses: Modesto, Fresno, the Bakersfield-Delano area, and Stockton. The Bay area region of San Francisco/Oakland/Hayward is sixth on the list, followed by the San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara area and the Vallejo/Fairfield area in the seventh and eighth spots, respectively. And rounding out the top ten is the city of Redding. (In case you’re wondering: Yakima, Washington is fifth on the list, and the number nine spot is occupied by the Spokane/Spokane Valley region in Washington.)
This begs the question: what makes California such an attractive place to swipe a vehicle?
Reasons Why Cars are Stolen in California
The NCBI has offered some theories as to why auto thieves target the Golden State. One of them is a trait that Californians can’t do much about: geography. Because the state has many ports on its western coastline and also shares a border with Mexico, it is easier for criminals to smuggle stolen vehicles out of the U.S. from California than most other states. Also, the beautiful weather that Californians consider to be such an asset is also a liability when it comes to car thefts. That’s because mild climates take less of a toll on cars, which allows older vehicles (most of which are easier to steal than today’s new cars) to stay in better shape longer.
How You Can Protect Your Vehicle From Theft
While individual Californians can’t do much about these complex problems, they can still take steps to protect their own vehicles from being stolen. It all starts with common sense measures like never getting out of and leaving your car while it is running, locking your doors, and not leaving the keys inside the ignition or in the vehicle. If you can’t store your vehicle in a private garage at night, then park in a well-lit, high-traffic area whenever possible. Consider equipping your vehicle with an ignition lock, car alarm, or vehicle locator system. And to reduce the temptation for thieves, never leave valuables or important documents in plain sight inside your car.
It’s also wise to invest in comprehensive auto insurance, which will cover you if your vehicle is indeed stolen. Some people may not be aware that minimum liability insurance does not protect you against auto theft — only injuries and property damage related to a covered loss. So give Auto Insurance Specialists a call today to see about obtaining affordable comprehensive auto insurance for your vehicle.
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