The Highest Risk Places in America For Your Car

And How To Avoid Becoming a Victim of Car Theft

Written by Carly Hallman

It’s very import to not only drive safely but park safely! When your car is sitting around in parking lots or driveways, it’s good to use smart tactics to avoid having your stuff being broken into, from locking your doors to checking your alarms to hiding your valuables under your seat. If you’re living in one of these cities where car theft is common, you might want to take it a step further and purchase a lock for your steering wheel or perhaps even take your steering wheel with you!

With this graphic below, discover the cities where taking the proper safety precautions could help lower your risk substantially. A few simple steps could help save you from being the next victim of car theft.

Where you car is most likely to get stolen

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The Cities Where Your Car Is Most Likely to Get Stolen Transcript

The Rate of Motor Vehicle Theft Per 100,000 Inhabitants Across America
City # of Thefts Rate per 100,000 inhabitants
Abilene, TX 251 175.4
Albany, GA 147 144.2
Albany, OR 110 210.6
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY 720 82.0
Albuquerque, NM 7,710 1,018.0
Alexandria, LA 269 314.9
Allentown-Bethlehem, PA 741 89.1
Altoona, PA 33 44.0
Amarillo, TX 919 390.2
Ames, IA 46 87.4
Anchorage, AK 2042 678.9
Ann Arbor, MI 112 121.2
Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL 184 160.3
Appleton, WI 39 43.1
Asheville, NC 260 160.6
Athens-Clarke, GA 224 151.7
Atlanta, GA 3993 312.3
Auburn-Opelika, AL 293 183.0
Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC 1179 198.1
Austin, TX 2188 165.1
Bakersfield, CA 3048 732.3
Baltimore, MD 5317 305.3
Bangor, ME 37 55.0
Barnstable, MA 133 62.4
Baton Rouge, LA 663 169.0
Battle Creek, MI 89 120.2
Bay City, MI 34 82.7
Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX 856 209.7
Beckley, WV 48 129.4
Bellingham, WA 283 198.3
Bend-Redmond, OR 242 134.4
Billings, MT 795 539.9
Binghamton, NY 102 85.9
Bismarck, ND 289 346.7
Blacksburg-Christianburg-Radford, VA 107 59.0
Bloomington, IL 59 53.9
Bloomington, IN 146 161.1
Boise City, ID 336 136.9
Boston, MA 1223 122.5
Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA 2459 103.6
Boulder, CO 219 153.7
Bowling Green, KY 158 136.9
Bremerton, WA 160 203.5
Bridgeport, CT 734 170.9
Brownsville-Harlingen, TX 331 78.1
Brunswick, GA 51 171.5
Buffalo, NY 835 132.9
Burlington, NC 94 118.4
St. Mary’s County, MD 71 63.4
Fort Myers, FL 220 113.6
Cape Girardeau, MO 69 107.5
Carson City, NV 86 157.5
Casper, WY 117 189.5
Cedar Rapids, IA 354 175.2
Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA 74 48.1
Champaign-Urbana, IL 237 99.1
Charleston, WV 298 388.5
Charleston, SC 261 257.2
Charlottesville, VA 75 80.3
Chattanooga, TN 1060 334.6
Cheyenne, WY 198 265.2
Chicago, IL 11,473 211.6
Elgin, IL 319 50.2
Gary, IN 1546 220.7
Chico, CA 455 453.8
Cincinnati, OH 1237 136.2
Clarksville, TN 182 118.9
Cleveland, TN 254 347.9
Cleveland, OH 4199 283.3
Coeur d’Alene, ID 89 132.1
College Station-Bryan, TX 306 121.2
Colorado Springs, CO 2073 348.4
Columbia, MO 246 180.6
Columbia, SC 903 397.7
Columbus, GA 852 354.9
Columbus, IN 106 213.7
Columbus, OH 3550 216.1
Corpus Christi, TX 656 187.5
Corvallis, OH 67 113.0
Crestview, FL 62 134.9
Cumberland, MD 22 65.8
Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX 13,992 292.0
Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 5078 209.1
Dallas, GA 60 366.9
Danville, IL 63 123.7
Davenport, IA 410 158.5
Dayton, OH 714 211.0
Decatur, AL 156 161.8
Decatur, IL 98 95.2
Daytona Beach, FL 391 206.9
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 13,278 462.9
Des Moines, IA 1,017 227.9
Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, MI 11,746 672.1
Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI 2,995 117.2
Dothan, AL 161 190.2
Dover, DE 81 96
Dubuque, IA 75 94.2
Duluth, MN 136 149.3
East Stroudsburg, PA 95 57.5
Eau Claire, WI 60 65.0
El Centro, CA 139 319.9
Elizabethtown, KY 40 86.4
Elmira, NY 27 52.3
El Paso, TX 812 110.9
Enid, OK 78 15.0
Erie, PA 104 64.3
Eugene, OR 633 282.3
Evansville, IN-KY 383 172.2
Fairbanks, AK 124 395.3
Fargo, ND 315 211.1
Farmington, NM 171 238.6
Fayetteville, NC 391 142.4
Flagstaff, AZ 59 74.8
Flint, MI 243 151.0
Florence, SC 130 268.1
Florence, AL 106 193.1
Fond du Lac, WI 24 47.1
Fort Collins, CO 201 113.4
Fort Smith, AR 333 226.4
Fort Wayne, IN 414 120.3
Fresno, CA 3284 530.9
Gadsden, AL 227 361.8
Gainesville, FL 367 198.7
Gainesville, GA 96 198.3
Gettysburg, PA 2 25.4
Glens Falls, NY 1 16.7
Goldsboro, NC 99 184.9
Grand Forks, ND 135 168.4
Grand Island, NE 87 147.3
Grand Junction, CO 161 178.7
Grand Rapids, MI 304 90.4
Grants Pass, OR 207 402.8
Great Falls, MT 215 283.7
Greeley, CO 322 222.9
Green Bay, WI 87 62.9
Hagerstown, MD 113 128.0
Hammond, LA 92 287.3
Hanford, CA 215 358.8
Harrisburg, PA 135 62.1
Harrisonburg, VA 40 57.0
Hartford, CT 773 237.1
Hattiesburg, MS 86 100.3
Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC 335 158.0
Hinesville, GA 31 95.3
Homosassa, FL 110 77.8
Hot Springs, AR 237 376.1
Houma, LA 56 108.8
Houston, TX 12,738 340.5
Huntsville, AL 894 280.0
Idaho Falls, ID 93 95.9
Indianapolis, IN 4,996 339.0
Iowa City, IA 88 78.1
Jackson, MI 58 108.0
Jackson, TN 127 155.9
Jacksonville, FL 3,027 245.8
Janesville-Beloit, WI 127 78.7
Jefferson City, MO 54 103.9
Johnson City, TN 119 128.9
Johnstown, PA 19 34.9
Jonesboro, AR 114 144.1
Joplin, MO 315 347.0
Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI 717 435.1
Kalamazoo, MI 238 146.3
Kankakee, IL 61 107.4
Kennewick, WA 187 186.2
Kileen, TX 351 166.9
Kingsport, TN 154 197.6
Kingston, NY 9 36.4
Knoxville, TN 864 228.2
Kokomo, IN 88 134.8
La Crosse, WI 66 67.0
Lafayette, IN 187 132.6
Lake Charles, LA 207 266.4
Lakeland, FL 310 174.2
Lancaster, PA 81 44.4
Lansing, MI 375 149.3
Laredo, TX 229 86.2
Las Cruces, NM 261 195.1
Las Vegas, NV 8,855 504.3
Lawton, OK 222 207.2
Lebanon, PA 49 67.0
Lewiston, ID 81 191.3
Lewiston, ME 49 74.6
Lexington-Fayette, KY 1,436 284.0
Lima, OH 117 155.9
Lincoln, NE 352 117.3
Little Rock, AR 1,143 379.6
Logan, UT 39 61.1
Longview, WA 204 345.9
Los Angeles, CA 47,511 467.1
Anaheim, CA 8,522 268.0
Louisville, KY 4,364 441.6
Lubbock, TX 1,050 369.5
Lynchburg, VA 112 76.2
Macon-Bibb County, GA 719 313.4
Madera, CA 300 369.7
Madison, WI 374 91.1
Manchester, NH 146 70.5
Manhattan, KS 89 89.8
Mankato, MN 49 78.4
Mansfield, OH 121 123.1
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 1,107 129.8
Medford, OR 409 310.5
Memphis, TN 3,234 310.6
Merced, CA 599 532.7
Fort Lauderdale, FL 5,622 291.3
Miami, FL 8,568 313.0
West Palm Beach, FL 3,382 233.8
Michigan City, IN 100 175.5
Midland, MI 10 35.9
Midland, TX 185 166.6
Milwaukee, WI 6,174 459.0
Minneapolis-St. Paul. MN 3861 189.7
Missoula, MT 204 197.0
Mobile, AL 880 333.6
Modesto, CA 1,553 648.1
Monroe, LA 224 257.9
Montgomery, AL 872 319.9
Morgantown, WV 28 86.4
Mount Vernon, WA 113 250.6
Muncie, IN 197 211.3
Muskegon, MI 89 144.6
Myrtle Beach, SC 371 300.4
Napa, CA 129 155.6
Naples, FL 17 67.3
Nashville, TN 1,728 166.6
New Bern, NC 23 104.7
New Haven, CT 735 303.9
New Orleans, LA 2,427 287.5
New York, NY-Jersey City-White Plains 10,866 75.3
Newark, NJ 5,192 207.1
Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY 1,870 65.6
Dutchess County-Putnam County, NY 102 26.0
Niles, MI 31 124.6
Sarasota, FL 122 103.3
Norwich-New London, CT 208 130.8
Ocala, FL 131 177.0
Ocean City, NJ 49 52.3
Odessa, TX 437 415.0
Ogden-Clearfield, UT 1,018 155.7
Oklahoma City, OK 2,905 329.3
Olympia, WA 224 267.5
Omaha, NE 3,125 441.8
Orlando, FL 1,240 215.2
Oshkosh, WI 68 78.9
Owensboro, KY 235 229.9
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA 1,650 194.2
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL 1,154 201.0
Panama City, FL 181 215.5
Parkersburg-Vienna, WV 126 137.4
Pensacola, FL 102 156.8
Peoria, IL 224 98.9
Philadelphia, PA 6,083 285.0
Camden, NJ 1,428 114.6
Wilmington, DE 1,417 195.7
Phoenix, AZ 7960 289.2
Pine Bluff, AR 236 335.5
Pittsburgh, PA 818 87.2
Pittsfield, MA 32 62.4
Pocatello, ID 130 171.8
Portland, ME 74 55.5
Portland, OR 4,924 390.0
Port St. Lucie, FL 85 80.5
Prescott, AZ 29 106.2
Provo-Orem, UT 549 91.6
Pueblo, CO 1,171 809.9
Punta Gorda, FL 11 63.6
Racine, WI 100 81.2
Rapid City, SD 250 212.8
Reading, PA 190 85.1
Redding, CA 519 487.8
Reno, NV 1,344 396.2
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 23,267 516.0
Roanoke, VA 223 120.4
Rochester, MN 132 90.2
Rochester, NY 664 103.6
Rockford, IL 463 174.9
Rocky Mount, NC 98 112.1
Rome, GA 71 193.9
Sacramento, CA 2,824 366.4
Saginaw, MI 54 78.7
Salem, OR 640 288.6
Salinas, CA 1,563 579.5
Salisbury, MD 51 71.1
Salt Lake City, UT 1,930 590.4
San Angelo, TX 277 254.9
San Antonio, TX 7,233 363.3
San Diego, CA 5,839 332.4
San Francisco, CA 7,114 433.7
Oakland, CA 20,556 737.5
San Rafael, CA 540 206.8
San Jose, CA 7,70. 505.5
San Luis Obispo, CA 95 177.8
Santa Cruz, CA 382 529.7
Santa Fe, NM 241 190.7
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA 1,220 273.6
Santa Rosa, CA 407 176.2
Savannah, GA 960 293.1
Seattle, WA 15,537 526.5
Tacoma-Lakewood, WA 5,781 674.3
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL 158 105.2
Sebring, FL 20 120.2
Sheboygan, WI 36 55.5
Sherman, TX 88 173.0
Shreveport, LA 757 259.5
Sierra Vista, AZ 55 132.1
Sioux City, IA 292 250.5
Sioux Falls, SD 618 265.9
South Bend, IN 566 286.5
Spokane, WA 1,992 541.2
Springfield, IL 227 153.1
Springfield, MA 587 176.2
Springfield, MO 1,648 446.8
Springfield, OH 260 246.8
State College, PA 9 18.0
Staunton-Waynesboro, VA 88 73.4
St. Cloud, MN 124 103.5
St. George, UT 120 123.3
St. Joseph, MO 576 506.3
St. Louis, MO 3,058 246.3
Stockton, CA 1,833 485.8
Sumter, SC 60 200.6
Syracuse, NY 340 94.0
Tallahassee, FL 1,099 355.4
Tampa, FL 628 178.1
Texarkana, TX 132 229.4
The Villages, FL 53 42.5
Toledo, OH 729 164.0
Topeka, KS 807 422.9
Trenton, NJ 373 146.1
Tucson, AZ 1,942 265.0
Tulsa, OK 3,660 487.6
Tuscaloosa, AL 230 174.1
Tyler, TX 159 192.1
Honolulu, HI 4,346 436.5
Utica-Rome, NY 175 59.7
Valdosta, GA 143 173.7
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA 2,164 494.5
Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ 183 118.2
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA 3,061 177.5
Visalia-Porterville, CA 2,111 458.8
Waco, TX 147 116.0
Walla Walla, WA 98 247.0
Warner Robins, GA 218 193.1
Washington, DC 5,946 139.2
Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD 990 76.5
Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA 200 117
Watertown-Fort Drum, NY 49 41.9
Wausau, WI 46 44.8
Weirton, WV 16 57.8
Wenatchee, WA 62 142.0
Wheeling, WV 33 81.9
Wichita, KS 2,188 389.9
Wichita Falls, TX 263 225.1
Williamsport, PA 23 45
Wilmington, NC 275 148.9
Winchester, VA 16 66.3
Worcester, MA 519 111.7
Yakima, WA 637 485.8
York, PA 193 91.9
Yuba City, CA 235 432.7

Top 10 Cities With the Highest Rate of Motor Vehicle Theft Per 100,000 Inhabitants

City # of Thefts Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants
Albuquerque, NM 7,710 1,018
Pueblo, CO 1,171 809.9
Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, CA 20,556 737.5
Bakersfield, CA 3,048 732.3
Anchorage, AK 2,042 678.9
Tacoma-Lakewood, WA 5,781 674.3
Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, MI 11,746 672.1
Modesto, CA 1,553 648.1
Salt Lake City, UT 1,930 590.4
Salinas, CA 1,563 579.5

Top 10 Cities With the Lowest Rate of Motor Vehicle Theft Per 100,000 Inhabitants

City # of Thefts Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants
Glens Falls, NY 1 16.7
State College, PA 9 18.0
Gettysburg, PA 2 25.4
Johnstown, PA 19 34.9
Midland, MI 110 35.9
Kingston, NY 9 36.4
Watertown-Fort Drum, NY 49 41.9
The Villages, FL 53 42.5
Appleton, WI 39 43.1
Altoona, PA 33 44.0

Top 10 Cities With the Highest Number of Motor Vehicle Thefts

City # of Thefts Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA 47,511 467.1
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 23,267 516.0
Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, CA 20,556 737.5
Seattle, WA 15,537 526.5
Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX 13,992 292.0
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 13,278 462.9
Houston, TX 12,738 340.5
Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, MI 11,746 672.1
Chicago, IL 11,473 211.6
New York, NY-Jersey City-White Plains 10,866 75.3

Top 10 College Campuses With the Highest Number of Motor Vehicle Thefts

College # of Thefts
University of New Mexico 124
University of South Carolina – Columbia Campus 65
University of Nevada – Las Vegas Campus 53
Clemson University 41
University of California – Berkeley Campus 37
California State University – San Jose Campus 34
Florida State University – Tallahassee Campus 33
University of Arkansas – Fayetteville Campus 32
California State University – Fresno Campus 30
Contra Costa Community College 29

Sources:

Motor vehicle theft and “carjacking,” which involves theft while you’re still in the car, are huge problems in some parts of the United States. There are typically more than 700,000 motor vehicle thefts every year in the U.S. Statistics on carjacking alone haven’t been studied in detail since the 1990s, unfortunately, but there are some easy tricks you can use to avoid these very dangerous situations.

For instance, police tell us that carjackers use several tactics, like the $20 trick, to get victims out of the car. If you see money on your windshield, don’t get out! Drive away with the money (which serves them right!) and retrieve it later, if you can. And at all times, stay aware of your surroundings. To help you with that, we compiled a list of the places with the highest rates of car theft in the U.S., according to FBI data.

Where is your car most likely to get stolen in the U.S.? We’ve created a heat map and organized car theft rates by city. With thousands of points of data for more than 300 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas, this graph dives deep into the rate of motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents, giving a fairer view than simply the number of thefts, which would skew toward more populated areas. Check out car theft statistics by city to see how your city compares!

What is the city with the most stolen cars in the USA?

Looking at just the numbers, the city with the most stolen cars in the USA is Los Angeles, CA. The greater Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale metropolitan area experienced 47,511 thefts in one year.

But if you compare this to the population and get a rate of car thefts per 100,000 residents, it’s Albuquerque, NM, which has the highest rate at 1,018, even though it only experienced 7,710 car thefts in all. Since it’s also home to the University of New Mexico, the college with the highest reported number of car theft rates in the United States, you could probably consider Albuquerque the car theft capital of the US! What’s happening there?!

What are the top cities for car theft in the US?

Purely by the number of incidents, here is a list of cities ranked for car theft. In USA municipalities, the number of thefts may be skewed by a large population, so also examine the rate when looking at car theft statistics by city.

  1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA: 47,511 (at a rate of 476.1 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  2. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA: 23,267 (at a rate of 516.0 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  3. Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, CA: 20,556 (at a rate of 737.5 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  4. Seattle, WA: 15,537 (at a rate of 526.5 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  5. Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX: 13,992 (at a rate of 292.0 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  6. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO: 13,278 (at a rate of 462.9 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  7. Houston, TX: 12,738 (at a rate of 340.5 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  8. Detroit-Dearborn-Livonia, MI: 11,746 (at a rate of 672.1 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  9. Chicago, IL: 11,473 (at a rate of 211.6 per 100,000 inhabitants)
  10. New York, NY-Jersey City, NJ-White Plains, NY: 10,866 (at a rate of 75.3 per 100,000 inhabitants)

It’s interesting to note that New York City, despite being the most populous city in the US, has low motor vehicle theft statistics and a rate of only 75.3, which is likely because so many of its residents don’t drive a car. Only a fraction of people get their car stolen there, while tiny Modesto, CA, the setting for the film American Graffiti, has an insane rate of 648.1.

What if you live in a city with a high car theft rate?

With our map of car theft rates by city, you can find stats on an area near where you call home. What if you live in an area that ranks highest in car theft? Cities like Pueblo, CO, and Oakland, CA, have extremely high rates, for instance, but by being alert and taking proper precautions, you can help lower your risk no matter where you live. Remember to be safe in those U.S. cities, but be safe in your hometown, too. Don’t leave your car on or your keys unattended, and always lock your doors.


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