RIVERSIDE – More than 10,000 vehicles were reported stolen in Riverside County in 2008 — a 14.5 percent drop compared to 2007, according to figures released today by the California Highway Patrol.
In 2008, 10,691 vehicle thefts were reported in Riverside County, compared to 12,499 the previous year, CHP spokeswoman Sylvia Mosley said. More than 80 percent of vehicles reported stolen in Riverside County in 2008 were recovered. Statewide, vehicle thefts fell 12.2 percent in 2008 to 199,766, compared to 227,412 in 2007, according to CHP.
The CHP and auto mechanics say carmakers are adding more security features, like alarms, tracking devices and security systems for the ignition.
“So even once you break in, sometimes, you still can’t get it started. Actually some of the Toyota you can’t start it unless you pull the headlights on or put the turn signal on. They’ve got some quirks to them,” says Ken Williamson from Palms To Pines Automotive in Palm Desert.
Despite the drop, thieves stole nearly 200,000 vehicles last year. And the targets are the same. Early 90’s model Honda Accords and late 80’s Toyota pick-up trucks are still the most stolen cars.
“They’re an abundance of them. They have a high resale value, their parts are interchangeable amongst their models,” says CHP Officer Ramon Perez.
Two door cars are also easier to break into. Williamson says the windows on two door cars don’t seal as well as four door cars.
The CHP says you should also keep any valuables in your car hidden. They say many times a thief will break in to steal the valuables and then decide to take the car as well.
Some drivers might be tempted to leave their window cracked to keep their car cool. Perez says don’t make it easy for car thieves.
“Don’t leave your keys in the vehicle. We do have a lot of people that will park their vehicles in a store run real quick to leave the AC running and then come back out and they’re vehicles gone,” says Perez.
The CHP figures are based on data from the Department of Justice Stolen Vehicle System, the California Highway Patrol Vehicle Theft Information System, and the Department of Motor Vehicles.