California Has Highest Car Theft Rates in Country

An analysis of crime data indicates that California has the highest number of car thefts in the country.  The data released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau found that eight out of the top 10 cities for car theft were located in the Golden State.

The highest number of car thefts in the country was recorded in Fresno.  Here, there was an average of 8.1 car thefts for every 1000 residents.  This was followed by Modesto and Bakersfield-Alamo, rounding out the top three slots for car thefts in the country.  Following close behind were the Vallejo-Fairfield area, Sacramento, Stockton, Visalia and the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont area.

The only two non-California cities on the list were Spokane and Yakima in Washington.  The fewest number of car thefts occurred in State College, Pennsylvania.  Here, there were less than .3 vehicle thefts per 1000 residents.

This isn’t the first time that Fresno has ranked in the top 10 in the country for car theft.  In 2010, Fresno had also placed first with a total of 7,559 car thefts per 100,000 population.

The Central Valley has long had a history of high numbers of car thefts.  Police blame these high rates of vehicle theft in the Central Valley on endemic poverty in these areas.  Drug use is another factor, especially the abuse of methamphetamine.  Very often, California criminal defense lawyers find that a person who has stolen a car is also a habitual drug user.

The high rates of car theft in California may also have something to do with a strong street racing culture and the presence of a thriving black market for car parts.  A person with a drug addiction problem may be more likely to steal a vehicle and sell the parts to fund his habit.

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