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Worst Places in the World for Stolen Vehicles

Car being broken into

You may not have guessed it, but California on the west coast of America is actually home to many of the worst cities for car theft.

Check out which other cities topped the list of being home to the most stolen vehicles.


According to recent data released by criminal investigation and motor insurance bodies, Fresno, California is the number one city in the US for car thefts, with more than 800 thefts per 100,000 vehicles recorded last year alone. California is also home to seven of America’s Top 10 car theft capitals, including Stockton, Modesto, Bakersfield and Spokane. Surprisingly, Los Angeles only comes in at 23rd place on the list and New York on the east coast ranks even further behind that.

One reason California has so many car thefts is because it has so many cars and so many people; more than any other state in the USA.


Recent research by insurance providers in England found that South Shrewsbury is the worst place for car thefts in the United Kingdom, with 15 per cent of all stolen car claims for the year. It is closely followed by Winchester, South Huddersfield, West Bromwich and Ilford in London.

Commentators point to the fact that the affluent groups whose vehicles are being targeted are now more geographically spread out and large cities such as Liverpool and Edinburgh are no longer the stereotypical crime hot spots they once were.


Closer to home, Perth in Western Australia was recently crowned the nation’s ‘Car Theft Capital’, with a staggering 19 per cent increase in car thefts so far this year, compared to an overall national decrease of 1 per cent. Experts are pointing to the mining boom as a possible cause, with the two-speed economy sparking an overall increase in crime in Western Australia.

Queensland also features highly, with more than 11,000 cars stolen this year. Authorities blame a crackdown by New South Wales police, which has driven organised car theft rings across the border into Queensland. As in Western Australia, the current mining boom in Queensland may also be a contributing factor.


While it is impossible to completely prevent your car from being stolen, there are measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of it happening. These include:

  • Always locking your car when you leave it, even for a minute and never leaving the car unattended with the engine running or the keys in the ignition.
  • Fitting a security device to your vehicle, preferably an immobiliser or alarm system, but at the very least, a visible deterrent such as a steering wheel lock.
  • Parking in well-populated and well-lit areas where a theft would be noticed, which would hopefully deter all but the most professional car thieves.
  • Fitting a GPS tracking device, so that your vehicle can be tracked and its location pinpointed by police after it is stolen.
  • Taking out comprehensive car insurance which includes cover for theft and malicious damage, so that if the worst does happen, at least you're prepared.