Auto theft rates remain high in many areas of the country, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau's (NICB) 2015 Hot Spots Vehicle Theft Report.

As you head out for those summer road trips, be sure that in addition to keeping you and your passengers safe, you are also doing your best to keep your vehicle from falling into the wrong hands. That's because auto theft rose by 1% nationwide for the first half of 2015 according to the FBI, an increase that is reflected in NICB's 2015 Hot Spots Vehicle Theft Report.

How the findings were generated:

NICB's Hot Spots report examined vehicle theft data obtained from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for each of the nation's Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) - areas designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that are typically much larger than the cities they include. For instance, the number one spot, the Modesto, Calif. MSA, includes all thefts within the entire county of Stanislaus, not just the city of Modesto.

According to the NICB report, California remains the leading state for auto thefts, having 8 of the top 10 metro areas with the most thefts per 100,000 residents. Since this is a population-based survey, areas with much smaller populations and more moderate numbers of thefts can often have higher theft rates when compared to areas with more significant vehicle theft problems but with larger populations to balance them.

2015 Ranking # of Reported  Thefts in 2015 2014 Ranking # of Reported  Thefts in 2014 Increase/

Decrease in Thefts

1. Modesto, Calif. 4,072 5 3,047 +1,025
2. Albuquerque, N.M. 6,657 12 4,754 +1,903
3. Bakersfield, Calif. 6,000 2 5,211 +789
4. Salinas, Calif. 2,934 11 2,270 +664
5. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif. 30,554 1 29,093 +1,461
6. Stockton-Lodi, Calif. 4,656 3 4,245 +411
7. Pueblo, Colo. 983 24 654 +329
8. Merced, Calif. 1,605 21 1,132 +473
9. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. 25,001 14 21,264 +3,737
10. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif. 2,352 7 2,414 -62


Cars, trucks and SUV's are stolen for many reasons. According to the NICB, "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."

Preventing Vehicle Theft

At Auto Credit Express, we know the kind of hardship auto theft can cause, and we want to provide you with some helpful tips you can use to reduce the chances of your car becoming someone else's.

  • Secure your car while unattended.
    Basically, lock your vehicle and engage anti-theft devices if you have them. This simple step can easily discourage lazy thieves looking to make some fast cash. Also, reduce the number of reasons they have to break into your car - keep all removable valuables out of sight by either taking them with you or placing them in your trunk.
  • Avoid parking near lot and garage exits.Vehicle Theft Report
    Parking near the exits may reduce your walk from your car to your destination, but it also makes it easier for thieves to make a fast and clean getaway. The further thieves have to go into a car lot or garage, the greater their chances of getting caught.
  • Utilize monitored parking.
    If possible, park in lots with attendants and security guards. These areas are far less likely to be plagued by car thieves. It may cost you some money, but that small fee could save you from a major financial setback.
  • Park in well lit areas.
    If you're unable to find monitored parking, the next best thing is a well lit area. Thieves love to work in the shadows, so be sure to shed some light on the subject.
  • Stay safe.
    If you see someone breaking into your car, don't try to take the situation into your own hands. Your possessions may be important, but what matters the most is you and your family. Contact local law enforcement immediately with your location, vehicle information and description of the thief or thieves.

Also, the NICB has some additional advice to keep your vehicle out of the wrong hands while you are out enjoying great summer events with family and friends.

Use these popular warning devices.
Having a second layer of visible or audible protection can help keep thieves at bay. Popular devices include:

  • Audible alarms
  • Steering column collars
  • Steering wheel/brake pedal locks, brake locks, and wheel locks
  • Theft deterrent decals
  • Identification markers in or on vehicle
  • VIN etching
  • Micro dot marking

Have an immobilizing device installed in your vehicle.
These systems will prevent thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. As the NICB puts it, "Some electronic devices have computer chips in ignition keys. Other devices inhibit the flow of electricity or fuel to the engine until a hidden switch or button is activated." Examples of such devices are:

  • Smart keys
  • Fuse cut-offs
  • Kill switches
  • Starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers
  • Wireless ignition authentication

Tracking devices improve chances of recovery.

If you are able, have a tracking device installed in your vehicle. It will emit a signal to police or a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. The NICB says that "tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ 'telematics' which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer."

Getting Financed When You Need It the Most

If you have found yourself in a situation where you no longer have a vehicle, Auto Credit Express can help you get back on the road fast. We work with a nationwide network of auto dealers that will do everything possible to get you financed and back on the road. All you need to do is complete our fast, secure and obligation-free online application and we will connect you with a dealer who can help. Start today.