The average car theft rate across all cities in the U.S. is 288 vehicles per 100,000 residents, or about one stolen car per year for every 347 residents, according to a new 2022 report from Insurify.
When it comes to which cities experience the most auto thefts, the data indicates that Western places are most vulnerable to the crime. In fact, the 10 U.S. cities with the highest rates of vehicle theft all reside in the West — California even has four cities in the top 10, including the top two.
Bakersfield, Calif. leads the way with the most car thefts per capita — specifically, 905 per 100,000 residents, which is 53% greater than the state average. Yuba City, Calif. ranks second with 724 thefts, followed by Denver with 706, Odessa, Texas, with 664 and San Francisco with 655 car thefts per 100,000 residents.
Other cities that ranked among the top ten for vehicle theft include Albuquerque, N.M. with 632 thefts per capita — that’s 43% greater than the state average. Pueblo, Colo. experienced 602 thefts per capita, Billings, Mont. had 565, Tulsa, Okla. saw 552, and San Jose, Calif. ranks 10th with 551 auto thefts per 100,000 residents.
State College, Penn., is proving to be the safest U.S. city for cars in 2022. Its car theft rate of just 17 vehicles per 100,000 residents is a whopping 94% less than the national average. Residents of State College — which, as its name suggests, is home to Penn State University — apparently take extreme care to secure their vehicles and are constantly looking out for each other’s rides.
Nationally, car theft is a growing problem. There are more than 880,000 vehicle thefts each year across the U.S., according to the most recent data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Put another way, an average of one vehicle is stolen in the U.S. every 36 seconds.