California has the most cars, most new car registrations and largest population in the United States so it stands to reason that we always win the annual race to the top of the car theft charts. But what is it about the Central California cities that are connected by California State Highway 99? Highway 99 is the north/south artery, paralleling Interstate Highway 5, that starts around Bakersfield and ends in Sacramento. It also seems to be the hot track for hot wheels!
Here’s the list of the 8 California cities/regions that are on the Top 10 list for car thefts:
- No. 1: Fresno
- No. 2: Modesto
- No. 3: Bakersfield
- No. 5: Vallejo – Fairfield
- No. 6: Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville
- No. 7: Stockton
- No. 8: Visalia-Porterville
- No. 9: San Francisco-Oakland-Freemont
With the exception of the San Francisco Bay Area and Vallejo, all the other cities are connected in a direct line by CA 99. Is it the economy? Foreclosures? Unemployment? A need to sell car parts? I’m sure there are lots of reasons for car thefts, but it does seem to hit these cities harder than others.
You may be asking why Los Angeles isn’t on the Top 10 list. The answer is simple: LA County is just too big. While I’m sure that the absolute number of cars stolen in LA/LA County dwarfs that of the other cities listed, you also have to factor in the total number of cars and people in the region. As a ratio, there are fewer cars stolen per capita and per the total number of cars than in the other cities/regions listed.
Here’s a great graphic from CarBuzz.com. Click it for a larger version. I love their conclusion:
If you live in California and drive a white Escalade, might we suggest you invest in The Club [an anti-car theft device that locks on your steering wheel].
If you live in Vermont and drive a tan Audi A6, you might want to take out the alarm system, sell it, and hit the slopes.