How to avoid car theft
San Luis Obispo County saw a 7 percent decrease in vehicle thefts in 2017, which follows a statewide trend, according to the California Highway Patrol.
California saw a 6.2 percent decrease in car thefts in 2017 — the largest decline the CHP has seen since 2014, according to a news release.
According to the CHP, the decrease in thefts might be because of advances in anti-theft technology, aggressive police work and the public's vigilance.
In 2017 alone, thieves stole 175,351 vehicles across California, at a total estimated value of $1.3 billion, the CHP said. Of that number, about 89.6 percent of the vehicles, or 157,183, were recovered, according to the CHP. Of recovered vehicles, 65.9 percent were intact and in drivable condition, 3.1 percent were missing major components, 9.5 percent were stripped of minor parts, and 21.5 percent were intentionally burned or wrecked.
Though the CHP said many smaller, rural counties saw increases in vehicle theft, SLO County saw a decline, from 489 thefts in 2016 to 455 thefts in 2017. According to data, 528 vehicles were recovered in 2016, and 416 were recovered in 2017.
SLO County's southern neighbor, Santa Barbara County, reported a 2 percent increase in thefts, with 1,240 vehicles reported stolen in 2017, up from 1,216 the year before.
Monterey County saw a 20.8 percent decrease in thefts, from 2,283 vehicles stolen in 2016 down to 1,809 stolen in 2017, according to the CHP.
The type of car most targeted by thieves were Honda Civics from the years 1998 and 2000, the CHP said. Also high on the list: 1997 Honda Accords. For motorcycles, 2016 Yamahas and 2007 Suzukis were more likely to be stolen.
A vehicle is stolen every three minutes in California, and the state is at the top of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's list of states with the most vehicles stolen in a calendar year.
The CHP offers the following tips to prevent vehicle thefts:
- Park in well-lit, secure or highly visible locations.
- Lock vehicle doors and close windows.
- Use an alarm system.
- Don't leave a vehicle unattended with the engine running.
- Don't leave valuables in plain sight.
- Report suspicious activity to law enforcement.