Annual Number of Car Thefts in the U.S. Set to Fall Again

The number of car thefts nationwide is set to decline for another year, with the crime showing shrinking numbers for the better part of a decade, according to a report released this week by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) on 2011 theft statistics.

The report showed that the metropolitan area of Fresno, Calif. had the highest rate of theft, followed by Modesto, Calif.

The rate was calculated as the amount of auto thefts per 100,000 people, and locations were determined by metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) that typically went beyond city boundaries to include county areas.

The top ten MSAs with the highest auto theft rates in 2011, along with their standings in 2009 and 2010, can be found in the table in the upper right.

If preliminary figures hold— the NCIB releases final statistics in the fall—auto thefts nationwide will have declined for eight straight years.

Another preliminary report from the FBI, released last week, showed that auto thefts in 2011 fell 3.3 percent compared with 2010.

California a Longtime Hotspot for Car Thefts

NCIB’s annual reports show that metro areas in California have consistently been hot spots for auto theft. In fact, 7 of the top 10 metropolitan areas for auto theft rates in 2011 were in California, and 18 of the top 50 metropolitan areas for auto theft rates last year were in the state.

Consumers wanting to protect themselves financially against auto theft will want to look at comprehensive coverage as an addition to their insurance policy. The optional kind of insurance coverage reimburses policyholders in situations of vehicular theft.

Online Auto Insurance conducted an analysis of average comprehensive coverage rates at nine insurance carriers in the state for the Fresno metro area, which had the highest auto theft rate in California, and Santa Maria metro area, which had the lowest theft rate in the state, according to the NICB. The data showed that the local theft rate can have a serious effect on residents’ ability to get cheap car insurance in California that covers theft of a vehicle.

The analysis showed that the average comprehensive coverage policy in Fresno, which saw 1 theft for every 124 residents, was 52 percent more expensive than the average comprehensive policy in Santa Maria, which saw 1 theft for every 752 residents.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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