Auto-theft Rate Fell 3% in 2011

By Kelsey Mays  on October 30, 2012

In the FBI's 2011 crime statistics report released Monday, the rate of auto thefts dropped 3% from 2010. Auto thefts — attempted or successful — were 174.9 per 100,000 Americans in 2011, down from 180.3 in 2010. In 2007, it was a whopping 279.9, according to FBI data.

Auto thefts in 2011 comprised 73.9% of 2011's 715,373 motor vehicle thefts, which includes buses, motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and snowmobiles. The average loss per incident among all motor vehicles was $6,089, the agency reported.

As you might expect, rural areas had some of the lowest motor-vehicle theft rates, while cities — particularly in California — had some of the highest. Metro areas in the continental U.S. with the lowest motor-vehicle theft rates per 100,000 people:

  • Logan, Utah-Idaho (35.2)
  • Oshkosh-Neenah, Wis. (35.8)
  • State College, Pa. (37.5)
  • Holland-Grand Haven, Mich. (42.1)
  • Glens Falls, N.Y. (45.6)

Metro areas with the highest theft rates:

  • Bakersfield-Delano, Calif. (575.2)
  • Modesto, Calif. (618.8)
  • Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, Calif. (652.5)
  • Fresno, Calif. (751.0)
  • Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich. (827.6)

Detroit takes bottom honors as the region where motor-vehicle theft is likeliest. The Detroit News notes more than half of all car thefts in Michigan occur in Wayne County, home to Detroit and its immediate suburbs.

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Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price.  Email Kelsey