Go to the National Insurance Crime Bureau website and look for Hot Spots 2012. There’s a map of the United States and 10 little red dots, each marking a hotbed of auto theft.
Everything east of the West Coast is empty, pristine, unsullied by a serious problem with car theft. But eight red dots reside in California. Two sit in the Evergreen State.
Yakima ranks fifth in the nation for car thefts with a 2012 rate of 674.15 thefts per 100,000 people. Spokane and Spokane Valley come in ninth nationwide with a rate of 568.34.
The Tacoma-Seattle area ranked 17th nationwide with a rate of 444.97 per 100,000, and Olympia reached 111th place with a rate of 213.68.
Overall, Washington car thefts rose 5.9 percent over a year ago, the bureau said.
In 2012, 30,597 vehicles were reported stolen in the state – which works out to an average of 84 vehicles stolen every day, and more than three stolen every hour.
The Northwest Insurance Council has provided some commonsense tips to avoid becoming a car-theft statistic.
• Remove your keys form the ignition.
• Lock your doors and windows.
• Park in a well-lit area.
• Keep valuables out of sight.
• Consider buying a warning device (audible alarm, wheel locks, micro-dot marking) or an immobilizing device (smart key, kill switch, system disabler), and consider a tracking device.
And in case you were wondering, the worst place for a car owner, and the best for a car thief, is Modesto, California.
Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton and San Francisco round out the top of the nationwide list.
If you’re looking to feel safe, then you’ll need to visit Midland, Michigan. Back there, in 2012, thieves stole only 18 cars, for a per capita rate of 21.47 per 100,000.