Hot Car Hot Spots: Colorado Leads US in Car Theft Rate, California in Total Thefts


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Texas, California, Florida, Illinois and Colorado are all places where your car is likely to be gone in 60 seconds.

According to the recently released Hot Spots Report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), car theft rates have skyrocketed in many parts of the US.

Nationwide, 932,329 vehicles were reported stolen to the police in 2021, a 6% increase from 2020 and a 17% increase since 2019.

The top five states by volume — Illinois, Florida, Colorado, California and Texas — account for 44% of all vehicle thefts nationwide. Colorado led the nation in 2021 with the highest total theft rate of 661.21 thefts per 100,000 people, up from 502.12 in 2020, a 32% increase.

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California claims the highest number of vehicle thefts in 2021 with 200,524 stolen vehicles. Bakersfield, California also had the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and Core-Based Statistical Area (CBSA) with the highest theft rate in the US – 1,024 thefts per 100,000 people.

Of the top states, only Florida saw a slight decrease in vehicle thefts in 2021 at 42,808, from 44,940 in 2020. Since the publication of the 2020 Hot Spots report, 22 states have decreased vehicle thefts.

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“For many of us, cars are essential to our livelihoods and the well-being of our families,” said David Glawe, NICB president and CEO.

“NICB works proactively with our law enforcement partners to prevent and deter vehicle theft, but vehicle owners can take simple steps to empower themselves,” Glawe said. “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, theft prevention starts with good security hygiene. Lock your doors and keep your keys with you at all times.”

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Preventing vehicle theft can also mean lower auto insurance rates, as high theft areas typically pay more for insurance, as do the drivers of the most stolen vehicle models.

If a car is stolen, immediately call the police and the insurer. NICB data shows that reporting a vehicle as soon as possible after theft increases the chance of recovery.

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