The good news: Car theft in Washington has declined 25 percent since last year. The bad news: it’s still up 21 percent since 1995.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau’s annual “Hot Spots Report,” showed about 32,000 Washington cars were stolen in 2008, down from 42,000 in 2007. Still, the bureau calls the state “a hotbed” for car theft: in the nation — Yakima ranked third, the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metropolitan area 26th and Spokane 35th in auto theft rates around the country.
The bureau points that an average of 87 stolen vehicles per day in the state. That’s nearly four vehicles an hour.
And just what are they stealing? Here’s a list of the most popular cars, trucks and SUVs stolen:
1. 1992 Honda Accord
2. 1995 Honda Civic
3. 1989 Toyota Camry
4. 1994 Acura Integra
5. 1993 Saturn SL
6. 1994 Nissan Sentra
7. 1995 Toyota Pickup
8. 1995 Nissan Pathfinder
9. 1993 Subaru Legacy
10. 1994 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
Car theft is the nation’s top property crime, which costs the country $7.4 billion each year, the bureau says. Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president, points out in a release that “The cost to replace stolen vehicles and repair those that are recovered is reflected in your insurance rates.”
Here’s the list of the Washington areas with the most thefts.
Note Kitsap’s presence at No. 9:
1. Yakima 1,828
2. Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue 17,561
3. Spokane 2,211
4. Vancouver/Portland 7,694
5. Longview 307
6. Mount Vernon-Anacortes 282
7. Olympia 497
8. Kennewick-Richland-Pasco 475
9. Bremerton-Silverdale 369
10. Wenatchee 139
How can you keep your car from getting stolen? Here’s some tips from the NW Insurance Council:
- Keep your doors locked and windows completely rolled up.
- Remove keys from the ignition, even when briefly stepping away from your car.
- Keep valuable items such as bags, purses, cell phones and briefcases out of sight.
- Always park your vehicle in well-lit areas.
- Always activate your vehicle’s security or alarm system when parked.
The NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.