Grand theft auto

Someone’s been stealing our cars. A lot of someones, actually. Chico has shown up on a national list ranking cities in each state by the rate of car thefts. In 2004, the Chico-Paradise metropolitan area (as defined by the federal government) saw the loss of 1,348 vehicles, making it fall 30th on the list of California cities of thefts per capita as ranked by the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s Vehicle Theft Study released two weeks ago. Merced was at the top, followed by the Stockton-Lodi area and then Saramento. Is it something about the Central Valley that whets a thief’s appetite for fresh wheels? If so, they’re not making off with the sweetest rides in town. The top five most commonly stolen cars in California—the state with the highest theft rate—are: 1989 Toyota Camry; 1991 Honda Accord; 2000 Honda Civic; 1986 Toyota pickup and 1987 Nissan Sentra. Here’s some more data on the Chico-Paradise theft situation:

year thefts rate* state rank

2002 1,312 645.76 33

2003 1,263 621.64 39

2004 1,348 663.48 30

* thefts reported per 100,000 population

30 39 33 1620 Chico-Paradise, CA MSA 1,348 663.48 1,263 621.64 1,312 645.76