Yakima ranked sixth-highest in the nation for auto theft rates, down from third in 2008, and while the Seattle-Tacoma metro area fell from 26th in 2008 to 37th last year, Spokane leaped to the 18th spot, up from 35th in 2008 — the last year for which full statistics are available.
Vehicle theft is the nation’s number-one property crime, costing more than $180 million in Washington, and an estimated $6.4 billion nationwide in 2008, according to the FBI. The average value of a motor vehicle reported stolen in 2008 was $6,751.
Washington’s Top 10 most stolen vehicles, according to NICB statistics:
1) 1992 Honda Accord
2) 1995 Honda Civic
3) 1990 Toyota Camry
4) 1995 Acura Integra
5) 1994 Nissan Sentra
6) 1995 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
7) 1994 Saturn Sl
8) 1995 Nissan Pathfinder
9) 1994 Ford Explorer
10) 1993 Dodge Caravan
Washington cities with the highest theft rates:
1) Yakima 1,525 637.93
2) Spokane 2,218 473.24
3) Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue 13,635 400.11
4) Longview 348 341.29
5.) Vancouver/Portland 6,837 304.97
6) Olympia 578 230.30
7) Kennewick-Richland-Pasco 467 190.11
8) Mount Vernon-Anacortes 211 176.52
9) Bremerton-Silverdale 392 162.75
10) Lewiston, ID-WA Metro 80 131.92
*The theft rate is based on the number of thefts per 100,000 inhabitants using 2009 U.S. Census Population estimates.
The NW Insurance Council offers the following tips to help you reduce the risk of your vehicle being stolen:
• Keep your doors locked and windows completely rolled up.
• Remove keys from the ignition, even when briefly leaving your car.
• Keep valuables such as bags, purses, cell phones and briefcases out of sight.
• Always park your vehicle in well-lit areas.
• Activate your vehicle’s security or alarm system when parked.
If you witness or have knowledge of an auto theft, contact your local law enforcement agency. Auto theft is considered a form of insurance fraud when automobile owners stage phony accidents or arrange to have their vehicles stolen with hopes of collecting the insurance money.
If you know of anyone who has filed a false insurance claim, you may be eligible for an award up to $5,000 offered by NW Insurance Council. Call the Fraud Hotline at 800-TEL-NICB. For more information about the Hot Spots Report and insurance fraud, call (800) 664-4942 or visit the NICB fraud website.