Drivers everywhere should take precautions to keep car thieves at bay, but if you call the West Coast home -- especially California -- you might consider paying extra attention to your precious set of wheels.
Places in the Golden State are red-hot for vehicle thefts, claiming nine of the top 10 rankings in a new list of "hot spots" for auto thieves. The ranking, based on 2013 data, is from an annual study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, or NICB. In last year's report, eight of the top 10 places for vehicle thefts belonged to California, and the state held seven out of the top 10 the year before.
The NICB examines car theft data in every U.S. metropolitan statistical area, which are comprised of cities and their surrounding counties.
The 10 metro areas with the highest auto theft rates are:
San Francisco area ranked fourth.
- Bakersfield, California
- Fresno, California
- Modesto, California
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
- Stockton-Lodi, California
- Redding, California
- Spokane-Spokane Valley, Washington
- Vallejo-Fairfield, California
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
- Yuba City, California
The report also shows that vehicle thefts nationwide were on the decline in 2013 after increasing slightly the previous year.
To stave off thieves, the NICB recommends implementing four "layers of protection," which include:
- Common sense -- meaning not leaving your doors unlocked or keys in the ignition.
- A warning device, such as an audible alarm or brake locks.
- An immobilizing device, such as a kill switch.
- A tracking device that allows you to pinpoint your car's location if it's stolen.
California also attracted the most motorcycle thefts last year. Find out where else thieves prey on bikes.
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