How Modesto Was Able to Reduce Car Thefts

MODESTO -- Modesto has shed its title as the number one city in the nation for auto thefts.

Police Chief Galen Carroll says it's all about being proactive and technological advances that have helped them combat crime.

But one woman who recently had her car stolen finds it hard to believe.

“When I like, truly realized it wasn’t there, I was like, 'Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?’” nursing student Natalia Villapudua said. “There was no broken glass or anything so it’s not like any broken windows or nothing and, I mean, it was a '93 Honda Accord so probably easily broken into."

Villapudua is one of several people who has had their cars swiped by thieves over the last year, but 2018 is different. The number of car thefts is down, according to the Modesto Police Department.

“We have seen a dramatic decrease, specifically our auto thefts, but also property crimes," Sgt. Kalani Souza said.

In a recent blog post, Chief Carroll wrote that for the first time in over a decade, Modesto us no longer the number one city for auto thefts in the U.S.

"Programs like our real-time crime center, predictive policing, directed patrol (have helped)," Souza said.

But not all figures are trending down. Carroll says crime is up over the last five years.

"We're unsure why that is," Souza told FOX40.

Sgt. Souza says the department believes the rise in reported rape and domestic violence might be due to educational efforts.

"And people know that that’s not OK anymore so when it comes specifically family violence, domestic violence, they’re more apt to report that now," Souza said.

Meanwhile, Villapudua just wants her car back.

"I had some school books in there and a couple of other things that I would like back," she said.