Top 100 Metro Areas for Vehicle Theft: NICB’s ‘Hot Spots’

June 6, 2016

When it comes to vehicle theft, California’s on top. California owns eight of the top 10 hot spots for vehicle theft in 2015, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) latest Hot Spots report.

California’s Modesto metropolitan statistical area (MSA) had the nation’s highest per capita vehicle theft rate in 2015, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) latest Hot Spots report. Albuquerque’s metro area had the second highest rate in the country.

NICB’s Hot Spots report examines vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for each of the nation’s MSAs, which often include areas much larger than the cities for which they are named. For example, the number one spot, the Modesto, Calif. MSA, includes all thefts within the entire county of Stanislaus, not just the city of Modesto.

NICB notes that in a population-based survey, an area with a much smaller population and a moderate number of thefts can—and often does—have a higher theft rate than an area with a much more significant vehicle theft problem and a larger population to absorb it.

For 2015, the 100 MSAs with the highest vehicle theft rates were:

2015 Rank MSA MSA Name 2015 Thefts 2015 Rate
1 33700 Modesto, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 4.072 756.33
2 10740 Albuquerque, NM Metropolitan Statistical Area 6.657 733.71
3 12540 Bakersfield, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 6.000 680.14
4 41500 Salinas, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 2.934 676.20
5 41860 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 30.554 656.21
6 44700 Stockton-Lodi, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 4.656 641.23
7 39380 Pueblo, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area 983 600.89
8 32900 Merced, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.605 597.87
9 40140 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 25.001 556.92
10 46700 Vallejo-Fairfield, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 2.352 539.34
11 41620 Salt Lake City, UT Metropolitan Statistical Area 6.282 536.80
12 36220 Odessa, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 846 530.62
13 23420 Fresno, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 5.149 528.18
14 41940 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 10.140 512.94
15 39820 Redding, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 893 497.40
16 17020 Chico, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.106 490.66
17 33340 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI Metropolitan Statistical Area 7.681 487.45
18 29820 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV Metropolitan Statistical Area 10.046 475.03
19 49420 Yakima, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.170 470.20
20 42660 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area 17.221 461.25
21 13740 Billings, MT Metropolitan Statistical Area 775 460.53
22 47300 Visalia-Porterville, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 2.108 458.40
23 26300 Hot Springs, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area 441 453.81
24 40900 Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 10.257 451.02
25 44060 Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area 2.430 443.57
26 31080 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 57.247 429.14
27 24420 Grants Pass, OR Metropolitan Statistical Area 362 427.16
28 49700 Yuba City, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 712 416.48
29 46140 Tulsa, OK Metropolitan Statistical Area 4.018 409.58
30 48620 Wichita, KS Metropolitan Statistical Area 2.637 409.08
31 42100 Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.108 404.16
32 31180 Lubbock, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.229 394.98
33 19740 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area 11.029 391.89
34 17900 Columbia, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area 3.165 390.71
35 44180 Springfield, MO Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.778 389.52
36 41140 St. Joseph, MO-KS Metropolitan Statistical Area 486 383.04
37 31460 Madera, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 593 382.59
38 26420 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 25.433 382.05
39 26900 Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN Metropolitan Statistical Area 7.472 375.70
40 28140 Kansas City, MO-KS Metropolitan Statistical Area 7.800 373.66
41 42340 Savannah, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.402 369.73
42 17980 Columbus, GA-AL Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.144 364.62
43 24860 Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area 3.155 360.63
44 30780 Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area 2.575 351.96
45 41740 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 11.410 345.81
46 36420 Oklahoma City, OK Metropolitan Statistical Area 4.618 339.95
47 11260 Anchorage, AK Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.359 339.93
48 45820 Topeka, KS Metropolitan Statistical Area 794 339.62
49 20940 El Centro, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 606 336.31
50 25260 Hanford-Corcoran, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 505 334.51
51 27900 Joplin, MO Metropolitan Statistical Area 591 333.50
52 35380 New Orleans-Metairie, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area 4.180 330.99
53 11100 Amarillo, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 856 326.65
54 38900 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Metropolitan Statistical Area 7.797 326.34
55 16620 Charleston, WV Metropolitan Statistical Area 717 325.00
56 12060 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area 18.260 319.75
57 41700 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 7.568 317.44
58 19820 Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area 13.506 313.94
59 33100 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area 18.862 313.72
60 45220 Tallahassee, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.178 311.70
61 31420 Macon, GA Metropolitan Statistical Area 717 311.61
62 16860 Chattanooga, TN-GA Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.688 308.16
63 22500 Florence, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area 629 304.68
64 27140 Jackson, MS Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.763 304.61
65 36540 Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA Metropolitan Statistical Area 2.743 299.68
66 41420 Salem, OR Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.213 295.79
67 30980 Longview, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 637 292.50
68 33660 Mobile, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.205 290.09
69 31140 Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN Metropolitan Statistical Area 3.699 289.34
70 39900 Reno, NV Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.302 288.76
71 16700 Charleston-North Charleston, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area 2.104 282.60
72 10180 Abilene, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 477 281.29
73 13820 Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area 3.217 280.80
74 45500 Texarkana, TX-AR Metropolitan Statistical Area 417 278.43
75 12580 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metropolitan Statistical Area 7.660 273.83
76 21820 Fairbanks, AK Metropolitan Statistical Area 269 270.00
77 17820 Colorado Springs, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.875 268.68
78 46520 Honolulu (Urban), HI Metropolitan Statistical Area 2.679 268.24
79 19100 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 19.051 268.22
80 38060 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area 12.096 264.42
81 31020 Longview, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area 271 261.92
82 32820 Memphis, TN-MS-AR Metropolitan Statistical Area 3.507 260.91
83 29340 Lake Charles, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area 533 259.23
84 34820 Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.117 258.59
85 33260 Midland, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area 429 257.32
86 17460 Cleveland-Elyria, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area 5.300 257.18
87 45460 Terre Haute, IN Metropolitan Statistical Area 433 253.19
88 44940 Sumter, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area 269 250.28
89 41180 St. Louis, MO-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area 7.009 249.29
90 25060 Gulfport-Biloxi-Pascagoula, MS Metropolitan Statistical Area 968 248.68
91 35300 New Haven-Milford, CT Metropolitan Statistical Area 2.134 248.29
92 10780 Alexandria, LA Metropolitan Statistical Area 381 246.63
93 33860 Montgomery, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area 912 243.99
94 12260 Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.433 242.82
95 37100 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 2.057 241.85
96 43900 Spartanburg, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area 786 241.79
97 22180 Fayetteville, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area 910 241.69
98 36500 Olympia-Tumwater, WA Metropolitan Statistical Area 651 241.53
99 46060 Tucson, AZ Metropolitan Statistical Area 2.429 240.49
100 42200 Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area 1.066 239.67

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau

When the FBI released preliminary, January-June 2015 crime data earlier this year, vehicle theft was up one percent across the nation. That increase is reflected in this Hot Spots report and the trend may hold when the final FBI 2015 crime data is published in the fall. Notwithstanding these occasional increases, vehicle thefts are down dramatically around the nation over the last several years. Nonetheless, the reasons vehicles are stolen remain the same. Older vehicles are stolen primarily for their parts value while newer, high-end vehicles are often shipped overseas or, after some disguising, sold to an innocent buyer locally, according to NICB.

The NICB is supported by property/casualty insurance companies.

Latest Comments

  • June 13, 2016 at 11:57 am
    OregonJon says:
    Knowing why vehicles are stolen says nothing about who does the stealing.
  • June 6, 2016 at 3:14 pm
    confused says:
    you don't have to wonder agent, just read the article! thefts are happening for the same reasons they've always happened in the past and it has nothing to do with your xenopho... read more
  • June 6, 2016 at 2:10 pm
    Agent says:
    I wonder if the very poor stats on the left coast have anything to do with the big influx of illegal aliens.
See all comments

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