(Los Angeles, Aug. 16, 2005) — Southern California has entered "car theft season," when more vehicles are stolen in Los Angeles County and California, than at any other time of the year, according to an analysis by the Automobile Club of Southern California. L.A. County motorists are victims to about one-third of all car thefts statewide.
The months from August through December see the highest numbers of vehicle thefts, according to California Highway Patrol statistics. While overall car thefts went down in Los Angeles County between 2003 and 2004, they rose statewide.
"Consumers need to be aware that even with high-tech vehicles and anti-theft devices, the likelihood of becoming a car theft victim is higher in Southern California than in other part of the country," said Daniel Brogdon, assistant group manager for the special investigation unit of the Interinsurance Exchange of the Auto Club. "The Auto Club has been helping its members deal with car theft since 1915, when it established a Vehicle Theft Bureau."
Today, the Auto Club honors CHP Officer Jeff Ferber for having the highest number of recovered stolen vehicles in Los Angeles County over the past year. Ferber recovered 136 stolen vehicles in 93 separate investigations. The Auto Club continues to encourage the fight against car theft by honoring law enforcement officers who retrieve the highest number of stolen vehicles with special pins known as "10851 awards," named for the vehicle code section dealing with car theft.
"Theft prevention is key in Los Angeles County," said Ferber. "Drivers need to stay alert to avoid becoming a victim."
Motorists can avoid becoming a victim of car theft by following these tips:
- Never leave your keys inside the vehicle, or leave your vehicle unlocked, even "just for a minute."
- Never leave valuable items visible inside the car, such as electronic devices, a purse, or luggage.
- Invest in an alarm system, ignition shutoff device and/or a theft tracking device.
- When possible, park your vehicle in a secure garage, or in well-lit areas with heavy pedestrian traffic.
- Never leave a spare ignition key hidden on the vehicle.
- To report thefts or theft-related activity, call 1-800-TELL CHP.
Number Of Cars Stolen in Los Angeles County and Statewide, 2003-2005
LOS ANGELES COUNTY
|January — April 2003||15,150|
|May — August 2003||15,776|
|September — December 2003||16,849|
|January — April 2004||14,345|
|May — August 2004||14,688|
|September — December 2004||15,535|
|January — April 2005||15,396|
|January — April 2003||45,978|
|May — August 2003||48,852|
|September — December 2003||51,812|
|January — April 2004||46,396|
|May — August 2004||49,924|
|September — December 2004||54,517|
|January — April 2005||53,011|
|Source: California Highway Patrol|
Top Ten Stolen Cars — 2004
|Vehicle Make||Number of Thefts|
|Toyota Pick Up||162|
|Saturn S Series||158|
|Ford F Series pickup||150|
Source: Interinsurance Agency of the Automobile Club of Southern California
The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest AAA affiliate, has served members since 1900. Today, Auto Club members benefit by the organization's roadside assistance, financial products, travel agency and trip planning services, highway and transportation safety programs, insurance products and services and automotive pricing, buying and financing programs. Information about these products and services is available at www.aaa.com.