Watch Your Wheels: These 15 American Cities Have the Most Stolen Cars
If you’re lucky, you’ll go your whole life and never be a crime victim. Even in American cities with the most gun violence, you’re more likely to be affected by a robbery or burglary, including a stolen vehicle. You’ve probably seen stolen cars if you’ve been to this 15 American cities.
We’re using data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau to discuss the cities and metro areas with the most stolen cars (including one that will shock you at No. 3 on the list).
15. Las Vegas
Cars stolen: 11,469
Metro population: 2.20 million
The city that’s one of America’s divorce capitals also sees its share of stolen cars. Sin City and its surrounding suburbs reported close to 12,000 vehicle thefts in one year, according to the NICB.
Next: Things won’t be so nice when your car goes missing.
14. San Diego
Cars stolen: 12,867
Metro population: 3.33 million
San Diego has some of the best year-round weather in the United States, but it won’t feel so nice when your car goes missing. The city and nearby Carlsbad combined for nearly 13,000 stolen cars, which is a high number, but its per capita rate is one of the lowest for a city this size.
Next: Middle America makes an appearance.
Cars stolen: 13,278
Metro population: 2.88 million
As we count down our list, we’re going to spend a lot of time close to oceans and borders, but the Denver-Lakewood-Aurora area breaks the mold. The Mile High City and its suburbs accounted for more than 13,000 stolen cars the last time the NICB reported figures.
Next: You definitely need to protect your car in this city.
Cars stolen: 13,435
Metro population: 4.74 million
You don’t have to worry about winter clothes if you live in the Phoenix area, but you have to watch out for your car. The urban area, including Mesa and Scottsdale, had nearly 13,500 stolen cars in one year.
Next: The number of car thefts is actually down from where it was.
Cars stolen: 13,712
Metro population: 4.31 million
Detroit’s broken reputation is rebounding with investors showing tons of interest in the city, and the population is steadily increasing after years of stagnation. Even though the 13,712 car thefts is a big number, that’s about 5,000 less than Detroit reported in 2013.
Next: A big jump up as we enter the top 10.
Cars stolen: 19,220
Metro population: 5.88 million
We found another reason to loathe Atlanta beside its hated airport. The greater metro area, including Sandy Springs and Roswell, suffered more than 19,000 car thefts, which is nearly 6,000 more than Detroit, the city we just discussed.
Next: A city where boat theft might replace car theft in the future.
Cars stolen: 20,207
Metro population: 6.15 million
We’re over 20,000 stolen cars now, which is about 4,000 more than the Miami area had in 2013, but we can see how the number might go back down in the future. Miami and nearby Fort Lauderdale are places you need to travel to right now before they go underwater, so boat theft might replace car theft in a few years.
Next: Let’s stay in the south.
Cars stolen: 20,229
Metro population: 7.39 million
Our tour of southern cities with tons of stolen cars reaches the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area. It’s 20,229 thefts puts it solidly in the top 10, but it’s 310 per capita rate is actually pretty low.
Next: A city with at least two dubious distinctions to its name.
Cars stolen: 20,704
Metro population: 3.86 million
Seattle has two dubious distinctions to its name. It has one of the largest homeless populations of any U.S. city, and it has a rash of car thefts, too. When you throw Tacoma and Bellevue into the mix, the metro area has close to 21,000 stolen cars, or nearly 3,000 more than it had in 2013.
Next: The raw number is bad, the hidden number isn’t.
6. New York
Cars stolen: 21,145
Metro population: 20.32 million
With its 21,000-plus stolen cars, New York and surrounding Newark and Jersey City, N.J., have a ton of thefts. That high number is bad, but the hidden per capita theft rate (about 106) is one of the lowest figures in America, especially for a city of its size. However, New York, Newark, and Jersey City are three of the five worst cities for traffic and infrastructure, according to a WalletHub study.
Next: A city similar to New York.
Cars stolen: 22,853
Metro population: 9.53 million
The Second City and its larger metro area experience a high number of car thefts. At nearly 23,000, it’s a staggering number. But it’s 241.5 per capita rate is relatively low. For comparison, the rate in Sacramento, Calif., is twice as high.
Next: The number of stolen cars is yet another problem for this city.
Cars stolen: 25,069
Metro population: 6.89 million
Houston is expensive and overpopulated, two reasons nobody wants to live there anymore. The number of stolen cars is the third reason. The 25,000 thefts put it the city squarely in the top five, which isn’t a good thing.
Next: A shocking appearance from a city we didn’t expect.
3. Riverside, Calif.
Cars stolen: 25,708
Metro population: 4.58 million
We’ll be honest — we were shocked to see the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area east of Los Angeles pop up on this list. It’s an urban area that isn’t mentioned in the same breath as similar-sized cities such as Detroit, San Francisco, and Seattle. But with well over 25,000 stolen cars, it holds its own against almost any major city in that department.
Next: Stolen cars plus another massive car-related problem.
2. San Francisco
Cars stolen: 29,414
Metro population: 4.72 million
With more than 29,000 stolen cars, the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward area is No. 2 in the country, but that’s not the only car-related problem. The city’s nightmare traffic costs residents nearly billions of dollars every year. The silver lining is thieves won’t be able to make a quick getaway after stealing your car.
Next: No other city comes close.
1. Los Angeles
Cars stolen: 60,670
Metro population: 13.53 million
If you haven’t been keeping track, Los Angeles is the fourth California city on our list, and you have to combine the number of stolen cars in the other three to reach its 60,670 total. Everything costs more in California, including gasoline, and we’re guessing the number of thefts is a reason why car insurance is so expensive there.
All population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.
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