Auto Club, CHP Warn: Car Theft Season is Upon Southern California

(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


January — April 200315,150
May — August 200315,776
September — December 200316,849
January — April 200414,345
May — August 200414,688
September — December 200415,535
January — April 200515,396


January — April 200345,978
May — August 200348,852
September — December 200351,812
January — April 200446,396
May — August 200449,924
September — December 200454,517
January — April 200553,011
Source: California Highway Patrol 

Top Ten Stolen Cars — 2004

Vehicle MakeNumber of Thefts
Toyota Camry575
Honda Civic543
Honda Accord540
Acura Integra165
Toyota Pick Up162
Saturn S Series158
Chevrolet/GMC pickup156
Ford F Series pickup150
Toyota Corolla105
Nissan pickup99

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