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County decline in vehicle thefts


The number of vehicle thefts in Los Angeles County declined 2.6 percent in 2017, the California Highway Patrol reported this week.

Statewide, vehicle thefts were down 6.2 percent, according to figures released by the agency.

According to the CHP’s 2017 Vehicle Theft and Recovery Report, a total 49,114 cars, SUVs, trucks and motorcycles were reported stolen in Los Angeles County last year, compared to 50,432 a year earlier.

Statewide, 175,351 vehicles were taken in 2017, compared to roughly 188,000 the previous year, according to the CHP.

“Although the overall number of vehicles stolen is down, there is still much more work to be done,’’ CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “Law enforcement can’t solve the problem alone. The CHP will continue to partner with local law enforcement on vehicle theft task forces to combat auto theft in California and asks the public to do its part.’’

According to the CHP, Southern California—namely, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties—continued to suffer the highest rate of auto thefts, at 51.5 percent, with other regions of the state nowhere close to that number.

The Los Angeles Police Department recorded the highest volume of auto thefts—20,438, followed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at 12,748, the CHP at 12,066, the San Jose Police Department at 8,355 and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department at 5,097.

According to the CHP, the most popular car targeted by thieves in 2017 was the Honda Civic, with 1998 and 2000 model sedans most often sought. Honda Accords manufactured in 1997 were also among the top three models favored by thieves.

Among SUVs and light pickup trucks, the Honda CRV was the most preferred target, mainly the 1998, 1999 and 2001 models, according to figures.

The CHP said cars accounted for 53.5 percent of thefts last year, while SUVs and light pickups comprised 35.6 percent of the total, followed by commercial trucks and motorcycles, each of which accounted for 4.6 percent. The remainder of thefts was spread among construction vehicles and farm equipment.

In Los Angeles County, 43,896 stolen cars, trucks and motorcycles were recovered by law enforcement, a 3.7 percent drop compared to 2016, according to the data. The Los Angeles Police Department had the second-highest recovery rate in the state, locating 17,383 vehicles, while the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was third with 12,008 recovered.

The CHP had the highest number of recoveries—21,754. According to the agency, 95 percent of cars stolen statewide last year were recovered.