The number of vehicle thefts in California declined for the second year in a row, according to 2014 statistics released Thursday by the California Highway Patrol.
After an 11.26 increase reported in 2012, vehicle thefts statewide decreased 2 percent in 2013, to 171,036, and decreased 6.9 percent in 2014, dropping to 159,271, according to a CHP news release.
The most popular cars with thieves are the 1996, 1994 and 1997 Honda Accord. The 2007 Suzuki was the motorcycle most often stolen, and the 1988 Toyota pickup was the personal truck most often stolen. Toyota pickups have been the most frequently stolen pickup trucks since 1984, and authorities attribute their popularity among thieves to resale value, interchangeable parts and availability.
The estimated total value of vehicles stolen in California in 2014 is approximately $900 million, according to the CHP report. Almost 90 percent of vehicles were recovered, and of those recovered statewide, 65 percent were reported to be intact and in drivable condition. Less than 4 percent were missing major components, 12 percent were stripped of minor parts and 18.9 percent were intentionally burned or wrecked.
In addition, 65, or 0.1 percent, of the vehicles recovered in 2014 involved only cargo theft – the products in a commercial vehicle were stolen, but not the vehicle or trailer.
Almost half the thefts statewide occurred in the five Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego, which account for 54 percent of California’s population. The five Bay Area counties of Alameda, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara accounted for approximately 20 percent of all vehicle thefts statewide.
The number of vehicle thefts in Sacramento County decreased 5.8 percent, from 7,191 in 2013 to 6,772 in 2014, while thefts in Placer County dropped 0.05 percent, from 549 in 2013 to 546 in 2014. El Dorado and Yolo counties saw increases in vehicle thefts, with the number in El Dorado County rising 8.4 percent, from 239 in 2013 to 259 in 2014, and the number in Yolo County increasing 4.6 percent, from 591 in 2013 to 618 in 2014.
The CHP offers drivers several anti-theft tips:
Always make sure you receive an ownership certificate when purchasing a used vehicle.
▪ Never hide a spare ignition key on the vehicle.
▪ Take extra precautions against theft if you drive one of the vehicles that is popular with thieves.
▪ Be aware of your surroundings before leaving your vehicle.
▪ Report possible vehicle theft activity by calling (800) 835-5247.