For the third consecutive year, Bakersfield, Calif., tops the list for the highest vehicle theft rate in the nation, according to the “2021 Hot Spots Report” from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
Specifically, Bakersfield saw 1,023.68 thefts per 100,000 residents — an increase of 13% from 905.41 in 2020. Other Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) that ranked among the top five for highest theft rate include Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo. with 964.92 thefts per 100,000 residents, Pueblo, Colo. (891.39), Albuquerque, N.M. (710.58), and Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. (680.20).
On the upside, both Odessa, Texas, and Tulsa, Okla., experienced decreases in auto thefts. So these two areas dropped off the NICB’s top 10 list for vehicle theft rate in 2021.
In addition to Core-Based Statistical Areas, the report explores vehicle theft rates and theft volumes by state.
In 2021, Colorado led the nation with the highest overall theft rate at 661.21 thefts per 100,000 people, up from 502.12 in 2020, an increase of 32%. Other states that ranked among the top five for highest theft rate include Washington, D.C. with 651.00, California with 511.05, New Mexico (475.50), and Oregon (471.16).
In addition to a high theft rate, the Golden State also has the highest overall thefts by volume, with 200,524 vehicles stolen. That’s over 100,000 more thefts than Texas, which takes second place.
Also noteworthy, the top five states with the most thefts by volume — California, Texas, Illinois, Florida, and Colorado — account for 412,008, or 44%, of all vehicle thefts nationwide. Of these states, only Florida saw a slight decrease in vehicle thefts with 42,808, down from 44,940 in 2020.
Nationwide, 932,329 vehicles were reported stolen to law enforcement in 2021, a 6% increase over 2020, and a 17% increase since 2019.