Figures released today show that four of the top five cities for car theft are in California, based on 2007 statistics. The research, done by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, is based on reported thefts and ranks cities by the number of cars stolen per 100,000 inhabitants.

The four highest ranking California cities include the central valley's Modesto in the No. 1 spot, with the San Diego/San Marcos/Carlsbad metro area in third, Stockton in fourth and the San Francisco/Fremont/Oakland metro area in fifth. Las Vegas, Nevada is the only non-California city breaking into the top five.

Primary contributing factors to the state's high theft rates include the proximity to the international border with Mexico, which makes it easier for thieves to abscond with stolen cars and evade capture. The numerous seaports throughout the state also make export-driven theft easier, but not to the same extent as the border with Mexico, reports MSNBC. Finally, the huge number of cars in California mean the totals are are going to be high as well, although the NICB rankings are based on per capita theft rates.

Last week the same group released figures on the most stolen cars, placing the Honda Civic at the top of that list. Taken together with the data released today, owners of Honda Civics living in California should be on the alert. Your cars are more likely to be stolen than any others, anywhere in the country.

The silver lining? Thefts may be down as much as 9% overall compared to 2006 data. Full figures will be released in the next few months.


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