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10 States With the Highest Car Theft Rates

Which states have the highest car theft rates? According to a recent Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) report, the FBI collected data from all 50 states (and Puerto Rico) through the Uniform Crime Reporting Program to determine specific crime statistics by state.

Those statistics were calculated for the 2012 year, and include the rate of car theft in each state.

Based on this new data, what are the 10 states with the highest car theft rates?

2012 Car Theft Rates

The car theft rates among all 50 states and Puerto Rico, measuring the number of auto thefts per 100,000 inhabitants, are ranked as follows:

  1. Washington D.C. at 579.0 thefts/100,000 residents
  2. California at 443.2 thefts/100,000 residents
  3. Washington at 382.8 thefts/100,000 residents
  4. Nevada at 363.1 thefts/100,000 residents
  5. Oklahoma at 303.1 thefts/100,000 residents
  6. Arizona at 292.3 thefts/100,000 residents
  7. Georgia at 287.7 thefts/100,000 residents
  8. South Carolina at 279.5 thefts/100,000 residents
  9. Missouri at 270.8 thefts/100,000 residents
  10. New Mexico at 261.9 thefts/100,000 residents

Protect Your Car

Even if you don't live in the top 10 worst auto theft states, car theft may be running rampant in your area. Do what you can to protect your car. Here are some precautionary measures you should take to help prevent your car from being stolen:

  • Don't leave valuables out in the open. Leaving things like cash, brand-name sunglasses, an expensive gadget like a smart phone, or expensive purses and clothes is like an open invitation for a thief to attempt to break into your car and then steal it.
  • Make sure it's locked. Make sure, every time you get out of your car, that your car is properly locked. Check all doors -- not just the driver's side -- and make a habit of doing this.
  • Park in a well-lit area. Make sure you park in a well-lit area when you can, or a spot that sees a lot of foot traffic. The more visible a thief may be when attempting to steal your car, the less promising your car will be to the potential auto thief.
  • Be careful if you lend. If you lend your car to anyone, make sure it's trusted family member or friend. Some borrowers may be tempted to never return it. On top of that, you should also be wary of lending your car to a reckless driver; you could be liable if the driver causes an accident.

An extra couple of minutes to double check your doors or find a better parking spot could easily save you weeks of grief if your car is stolen. Remember, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

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