An unwelcome uptick in vehicle thefts

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In a statistical uptick no one wants to see, preliminary figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicate vehicle thefts increased slightly last year over 2012 – rising 1.3%, which appears to end an eight-year downward trend in vehicle theft, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

NICB also noted that eight of the top 10 areas in the U.S. for vehicle thefts are in California with the remaining two from the state of Washington. [For a ranking of those cities, click here.]

The West region – defined by the FBI as the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming – recorded a 10.6% increase in vehicle thefts between 2001 and 2013. By contrast, the other major regions of the country – the Midwest, Northeast and South – witnessed a falloff of 3.1%, 7.9% and 2.9%, respectively.

FYI: the NICB noted that it examines vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) as designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) – areas that often include areas much larger than the cities for which they are named.

For example, the MSA for Modesto, CA – the city with the highest level of vehicle left in the U.S. for 2013 – includes all vehicle thefts within the entire county of Stanislaus, not just the city of Modesto itself.

Thus as a population-based survey, an area with a much smaller population and a moderate number of thefts can—and often does—have a higher theft rate than an area with a much more significant vehicle theft problem and a larger population to absorb it, NICB said.

Something to keep in mind as vehicle theft is seemingly on a most unwelcome uptick. 

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