A Forbes report shows cars in California are at greatest risk of being stolen. (Photo : steevithak)
Motorists along the Pacific coast beware: your ride is at a high risk of being stolen. A recent Forbes report placed seven of 10 cities with the highest rates of vehicles in the Golden state. Two other cities were in Washington state, an indicator that vehicle theft is a particular problem along the west coast.
Like Us on Facebook
Ironically, the only eastern city to make the list is Anderson, S.C., which is nicknamed the "Friendliest City in South Carolina." Anderson placed at No. 8.
Topping the list are the California cities of Fresno, Modesto and Bakersfield. Following in fourth, fifth and sixth were Spokane, WA; Yakima, WA; and San Francisco, Calif., respectively. Rounding out the list were the California cities Stockton, Vallejo and Visalia, at seven, ninth and tenth, respectively.
Frank Scaifi, the director of public affairs at the National Insurance Crime Bureau, said California's placement on the list is a continuing trend.
"California has dominated the list for years," Scafidi said. "There are simply many more vehicles there than in any other state, and way more people, he says: "With that combination you get more vehicle theft activity."
The state's close proximity to Mexico may be another factor. Forbes stated that many vehicles stolen in California are recovered in the desert within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. But in all, only about 57 percent of stolen vehicles are ever recovered.
However, the list did have some good news for concerned motorists, noting that improved technology, such as GPS systems, highly sensitive alarms and electronic key fobs, often deter potential thieves before the crime is even committed.
And surprisingly, expensive luxury cars were not the most reported stolen. According to National Highway, Traffic and Safety Administation data, the most stolen cars wre run-of-the-mill passengers cars. Hyundai, Chrysler and Dodge each had several models on a NHTSA list of the 10 most stolen cars brands.
Methods to deter car theft were all pretty obvious: lock the doors, don't leave keys inside the vehicle and don't leave valuables in sight.
Terri Miller, the director of the Michigan-based Help Eliminate Auto Theft program, told Forbes of one no-brainer to prevent auto theft.
"My number-one recommendation right now is that if you have a garage, use it," Miller said. "Why do we put our junk in the garage and leave our $40,000 car in the driveway?"