SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — California is the state where you’re most likely to lose your car to theft. The state leads the nation with more than 187,000 car thefts reported in 2020, according to Insurance.com, and officials say some vehicles are more susceptible to theft than others. 

Bakersfield emerges as the epicenter of the latest crime wave in the United States. With more vehicle thefts than any other metro area in the country, Bakersfield reports an auto theft rate of 905 for every 100,000 residents, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. 

The crime epidemic is not unique to Southern California; Northern California counties report unprecedented numbers. According to data from the FBI, the Yuba City metro area has the second-highest motor vehicle theft rate in the United States – 594 for every 100,000 people – far higher than the national average of 246 per 100,000 people. 

While statewide property crime rates declined in 2020, motor vehicle theft surged to 18.4%, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.   

“Auto thefts saw a dramatic increase in 2020 versus 2019 in part due to the pandemic, an economic downturn, law enforcement realignment, depleted social and schooling programs, and, in still too many cases, owner complacency,” said David Glawe, president and CEO of the NICB.

What vehicles do thieves target the most in California? 

Here are the top ten targets, their model years and the number of thefts in 2020, according to NICB:

  • Honda Civic 2000 – 16,625 thefts                                                                                                          – —
  • Honda Accord 1997 – 11,473 thefts                                                                                                                      
  • Chevrolet Pickup 2001 – 11,408 thefts                                                                                                               
  • Ford Pick-Up 2004 – 9,543 thefts                                                                                                                           
  • Honda CR-V 2000 – 4,773 thefts                                                                                                                        
  • Toyota Camry 2019 – 4,020 thefts                                                                                                                    
  • GMC Pick-Up 2001 – 3,736 thefts                                                                                                                          
  • Toyota Corolla 2020 – 3,250 thefts                                                                                                         
  • Chevrolet Tahoe 2001 – 2,442 thefts                                                                                                                 
  • Toyota Tacoma 1999 – 2,137 thefts

NICB urges drivers to remain vigilant and recommends they use the following devices and complete the steps to protect themselves and their vehicles. 

Common sense – easy and cost-effective 

  • Always remove your keys from the ignition                                                                                         
  • Lock your doors/close your windows                                                                                                                
  • Park in a well-lit area                                                                                                                          

Warning device – use visible and audible warning devices to protect your vehicle

  • Audible alarms                                                                                                                
  • Steering wheel/brake pedal lock                                                                                              
  • Identification markers in or on vehicle 

Immobilizing Device – prevent thieves from hot-wiring your car                                                             

  • Smart keys                                                                                                                          
  • Fuse cut-offs (secondary switch)                                                                                                             
  • Starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers 

The general public can report information concerning car thefts to the National Insurance Crime Bureau at 800-835-6422 or fill out an online form.