Car thefts are down for the second year in a row, according to the recently released annual “Hot Spots” report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). The data show there were 794,019 stolen vehicles reported in 2019, compared to 819,988 in 2018 and 833,740 in 2017. 

The top 'Hot Spots'

And the geographic area taking the top spot for vehicle thefts is Bakersfield, CA, with 6,538 thefts and a theft rate of 726.28. The rate is the number of vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents. According to the NICB study, this area would include the county of Kern — not just the city of Bakersfield. Bakersfield jumped to No. 1 this year from the No. 3 spot on the 2018 list. 

Leaving the top spot from last year and dropping to No. 2 is Albuquerque, NM, with 6,399 thefts and a theft rate of 697.05.  

Rank

Vehicle Theft Hot Spots

2019 Thefts

2019 Theft Rate

1

Bakersfield, CA

6,538

726.28

2

Albuquerque, NM

6,399

697.05

3

St. Joseph, MO-KS

770

614.9

4

Modesto, CA

3,156

573.13

5

Odessa, TX 

946

569.11

6

Topeka, KS

1,293

557.4

7

Yuba City, CA

959

546.01

8

Merced, CA

1,483

534.07

9

Yakima, WA

1,325

528.16

10

Springfield, MO

2,420

514.57

States with increased vehicle theft 

There were 11 states that experienced an increase in vehicle thefts. Missouri took the top spot for having the highest vehicle theft per 100,000 residents. The Show-Me State has a population of over 6.1 million making it the 18th most populated state.

State

2019 Theft Rate

2018 Theft Rate

Missouri

403.95

371.45

Texas

294.02

273.18

Arkansas

271.22

266.87

Nebraska

234.65

227.86

Minnesota

224.13

204.48

North Carolina

203.29

202.66

North Dakota

189.09

178.53

South Dakota

187.53

162.43

Delaware

183.82

165.74

Michigan

181.13

173.16

New Hampshire

52.66

50.5

Protecting your car from theft

No matter where you live, there are some general tips that can help to decrease the likelihood of your car getting stolen. Also, be sure your auto insurance policy includes comprehensive coverage to protect you in case of a theft.

  • Always lock your doors - even while driving.

  • Keep your keys on you at all times.

  • Close all windows, including the sunroof. 

  • Install and use an anti-theft system.

  • Park in well-lit areas. 

  • Remove any valuables from plain sight in your car.