MOST FREQUENTLY STOLEN AUTOS IN STANISLAUS COUNTY
#1 Honda Accord, 1989-1997
#2 Honda Civic, 1988-2000
#3 Toyota Camry, 1987-1991
#4 Acura Integra, 1990-1998
#5 Toyota Pickup, 1984-1988
Auto thefts have been called one of the scourges of Stanislaus County, and though specialty task forces and awareness campaigns have made inroads into the crime, it continues to be a problem that plagues local law enforcement.
The number of stolen vehicles in Stanislaus County and nationally has been trending downwards over the last few years, but even with those gains the Modesto Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Turlock, Denair, and the surrounding communities, has placed in the top three spots for having the highest auto thefts per capita over the past few years, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which tracks auto thefts.
“Through the end of August this year there were 97,655 vehicles that were listed as stolen and not yet recovered,” said Joe Wehrie, NICB president and chief executive officer. “Of that number, only 38 percent had some kind of insurance coverage. So there are a lot of vehicles out there that are being stolen and the owner is left holding the bag with no car and no money to buy another one.”
Recently, local law enforcement agencies have noticed a general uptick in auto thefts. The Turlock Police Department took 99 auto theft reports from June 1 to Sept. 30 and the Modesto Police Department had an average of three stolen vehicles per day.
From January through September of this year, Stanislaus County has seen an 8 percent increase in auto thefts.
In the hope of turning the tide, the Stanislaus County Auto Theft Task Force will launch a new awareness and prevention campaign that will include the giveaway of 2,000 steering wheel locks.
Starting Monday police departments across the country will be giving out the steering wheel locks to people who own one of the top nine most frequently stolen autos in Stanislaus County. The autos are:
Honda Accord, 1989-1997
Honda Civic, 1988-2000
Toyota Camry, 1987-1991
Acura Integra, 1990-1998
Toyota Pickup, 1984-1988
Saturn SL, 1993-1995Nissan Sentra, 1992-1994Chevrolet Silverado, 1996-2007Cadillac Escalade, 2002-2004 The other requirements for the locks are that the vehicle must be registered and the owner has to be a resident of Stanislaus County. There is a limit of two per household.In addition to the lock giveaway, the task force is pushing some prevention measures that begin with common sense efforts on the part of vehicle owners.“Often time vehicles are stolen for crimes of opportunity. The doors are unlocked, windows are down, or the car is running and no one is around. Thieves will take the vehicles to commit other crimes, take the contents, such as the radio or rims, or merely take it for quick transportation,” said Sgt. Aaron Tait, a supervisor of the auto theft task force.The task force recommends that vehicle owners always lock their doors and roll up their windows; remove the keys from the ignition; and park in a well-lit area.The NICB also suggests owners should take a layered approach to deter vehicle thefts, which Turlock Police Sgt. Nino Amirfar said is a proven method.“Any additional security added to your vehicle decreases your chances of being victimized,” Amirfar said. “Criminals are more likely to hit easy targets versus a car with a security device that would require additional time to steal and could draw more attention.”
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail email@example.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.