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Western states tops in car theft

Auto theft rate dropped nationally last year. West had highest rates of theft in U.S.

May 9, 2006; Posted: 11:32 a.m. EDT (1532 GMT)

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The West has the highest rates of auto theft in the United States, according to an analysis of auto theft data by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

All of the top ten metropolitan areas for auto theft last year were in California, Nevada, Arizona and Washington state.

Auto theft dropped nationally by 2.1 percent during the first half of 2005 compared to the same period in 2004, according to the NICB. That was the second consecutive year of decline in the national auto theft rate.

The nation's western states saw their second consecutive increase in the auto theft rate, however, said NICB spokesman Frank Scafidi.

The NICB reviewed data supplied by the National Crime Information Center for each of the nation's 360 metro areas. The theft rate was calculated as the number of auto thefts per 100,000 inhabitants.

Reasons for the increasing rate of auto thefts in the west are unknown, said Scafidi.

Currently most stolen cars are recovered. The rate of recovery is about 60 percent nationally, said Scafidi, but California claims a 90 percent recovery rate. Stolen cars are often recovered in "stripped" condition, missing many parts including body panels, said Scafidi.

Top ten places for auto theft

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau

1. Modesto, Calif.

2. Las Vegas/Paradise, Nev.

3. Stockton, Calif.

4. Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale, Ariz.

5. Visalia/Porterville, Calif.

6. Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue, Wash.

7. Sacramento/Arden-Arcade/Roseville, Calif.

8. San Diego/Carlsbad/San Marcos, Calif.

9. Fresno, Calif.

10. Yakima, Wash.

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