County bucks overall downward trend in auto thefts

RIVERSIDE – While vehicle thefts throughout California dropped last year, the number of thefts in Riverside County increased slightly, according to figures released today.

The California Highway Patrol’s final statistics on auto thefts for 2013 show 171,036 cars, light trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, commercial trucks and trailers were stolen statewide, representing a roughly 2 percent decline from 2012.

In Riverside County, 10,070 vehicles were taken, a 3.5 percent increase compared to the year before, when 9,733 automobiles were stolen, the CHP said.

The statewide recovery rate for stolen autos last year was 89 percent; in Riverside County, it was 88 percent, according to the CHP. The recovery rate was up 7.5 percent countywide compared to 2012, figures showed.

The CHP said 64 percent of recovered vehicles were ”intact and in drivable condition.” The remaining recoveries had major parts missing or had been badly damaged.

”A combination of advances in technology, aggressive police work by all law enforcement agencies involved in joint auto theft task forces, and preventative measures by the public are making it more difficult for thieves to steal a vehicle,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.

Just under 50 percent of statewide vehicle thefts in 2013 occurred in Southern California. Data indicated Los Angeles County represented the largest piece of that pie — 24.4 percent.

Riverside County’s share was about 6 percent.

Cars, mainly the compact variety, represented the most favored target of thieves. According to the CHP, the Honda Accord — model years 1995, 1996 and 1997 — ranked at the top.

The estimated value of vehicles stolen in 2013 was $1 billion, according to the CHP.

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