Auto Insurance

The 10 Worst Cities For Auto Theft

The 10 Worst Cities For Auto Theft

We surveyed 326 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) to find out which cities had the highest rates of auto theft. Across the cities we looked at, there were 646,719 vehicles stolen in 2016, amounting to a national average of 266 thefts per 100,000 residents. However some regions were particularly prone to high rates of auto theft, with all of the top 10 worst cities for auto theft being located in western states.
Rush hour traffic jam on the freeway
Rush hour traffic jam on the freeway Source: Getty Images

Cities With the Highest Auto Theft Rates


1. Albuquerque, New Mexico

1,018 thefts per 100,000 residents

Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico, and has the highest rate of auto theft in the country. The ABQ's auto theft rate is over four times greater than that of Santa Fe. And in 2016 there were more car thefts in Albuquerque than there were in the Baltimore, Maryland, metropolitan area, which has more than three times the population.


2. Pueblo, Colorado

810 thefts per 100,000 residents

Pueblo, Colorado, has one of the highest rates of car theft in the country, at more than 200% greater than the national average. Furthermore, according to our study, drivers in Pueblo are 75% more likely to have their car stolen those in Denver—which ranked as the city with the second highest rate of auto thefts in Colorado.


3. Bakersfield, California

732 thefts per 100,000 residents

Though there are 11 California MSAs in the top 20 worst cities for for auto theft, Bakersfield had the highest theft rate in the state. Bakersfield's theft rate that is 74% higher than that of the nearby Los Angeles and 13% higher than Modesto, which had the next highest rate in California.


4. Anchorage, Alaska

679 thefts per 100,000 residents

Anchorage is the largest and most densely populated city in Alaska, with approximately 300,000 residents living in and around the city. It is also home to the state's largest airport, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, and major Alaskan thoroughfares, the Seward and Glenn highways. Anchorage's auto theft rate was more than 155% greater than the national average.


5. Modesto, California

648 thefts per 100,000 residents

Located in California's central valley, Modesto is known as a hub for agriculture and as the setting for the Academy Award-nominated film “American Graffiti.” In 2016 there were roughly 3,500 car thefts in the metropolitan area, making Modesto's auto theft rate 77% higher than nearby Sacramento's.


6. San Francisco, California

602 thefts per 100,000 residents

San Francisco is one of the most densely populated cities in the U.S. and, as such, has a variety of public transit options, which include the Muni and the BART. However, in the city there are still plenty of car owners, as San Francisco also has one of the highest rates of auto theft in the nation. In 2016, there were 96 more cars stolen in San Francisco per 100,000 residents than there were in nearby San Jose.


7. Salt Lake City, Utah

590 thefts per 100,000 residents

Salt Lake City is the most populous city in Utah, with nearly 1.2 million people living the SLC metropolitan area. The city has one of the highest rates of car theft in the country and by far the highest in Utah. In fact, of the Utah MSAs we surveyed, SLC is the only one to have a theft rate greater than the national average.


8. Salinas, California

580 thefts per 100,000 residents

Salinas—known as the Salad Bowl of the World—has long struggled with crime, which some have theorized is a result of its proximity to the Salinas Valley State Prison. Salinas' auto theft rate is 15% higher than that of nearby San Jose.


9. Seattle, Washington

560 thefts per 100,000 residents

The Seattle area is the largest MSA in the Pacific Northwest, with 3.8 million residents—1.3 million more residents than nearby Portland, Oregon. This city also had a theft rate 44% greater than that of Portland (560 thefts per 100,000 residents for Seattle compared to 390 per 100,000 for Portland).


10. Spokane, Washington

541 thefts per 100,000 residents

Located on the opposite side of Washington State from Seattle and just 18 miles south of the Canada‒U.S. border is the city of Spokane. This city's auto theft rate is over three times higher than that of nearby Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and more than twice the national average.

Breakdown of the Worst Cities for Auto Theft by Region

A Chart of the Average Theft Rate For Cities In Each Region in the U.S.

According to our study, auto thefts vary greatly by region, with western cities having the highest theft rate—averaging 336 thefts per 100,000 residents. On the other end of the spectrum, northeastern cities averaged only 85 thefts per 100,000 residents, which is 68% less than the national average.

Five worst cities in each region for auto theft

Western States Also Have the Highest Theft Rates by Registered Vehicles

Though it is true that generally Western cities have a higher proportion of car owners than other parts of the country—which could contribute to their higher theft rate—even when you adjust for vehicle registration, Western states rank as having the highest rate of auto theft. In other words, even when you account for the fact that the West has a higher proportion of drivers, it still ranks as the worst region for car theft. The five states with the highest rate of theft relative to vehicle registration are located in the Western region.

Chart of the Top 5 States With the Highest Rate of Auto Theft

How Comprehensive Coverage Can Protect You From Car Theft

Having an auto insurance policy that includes comprehensive insurance helps protect you in the event that your car is stolen. This coverage will pay to replace your vehicle if it is stolen. It also covers repairs for damage caused by natural disasters, fire and falling objects.

If your car is stolen, comprehensive coverage can pay to replace your car up to its market value minus your deductible—which is the amount you have to pay for a covered claim before your insurance kicks in. Choosing a high deductible will result in lower premiums, however if your vehicle is stolen you will have to pay more out of pocket to replace it.

Purchasing a car insurance policy that includes comprehensive coverage will be more expensive than a policy that only includes basic liability coverage. However, the actual cost will depend on a variety of factors—such as what vehicle you're insuring and which insurance company you go with. To get the lowest car insurance rates, we recommend that you shop around and compare quotes from multiple companies. Additionally, where you live can have a large effect on your rates. For example, if you live in an area with a high rate of auto theft, you are likely to pay more for comprehensive coverage than those living in areas with a low theft rate.

Complete List of Cities and Their Auto Theft Rates

Rank

MSA2016 theftsThefts per 100,000 residents
155Abilene, TX M.S.A.298175
197Akron, OH M.S.A.1,013144
270Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY M.S.A.72082
195Albany, GA M.S.A.220144
121Albany, OR M.S.A.257211
1Albuquerque, NM M.S.A.9,2351,018
69Alexandria, LA M.S.A.485315
317Altoona, PA M.S.A.5544
41Amarillo, TX M.S.A.1,027390
262Ames, IA M.S.A.8587
4Anchorage, AK M.S.A.2,143679
220Ann Arbor, MI M.S.A.438121
175Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL M.S.A.184160
318Appleton, WI M.S.A.10143
186Athens-Clarke County, GA M.S.A.311152
66Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA M.S.A.18,605321
130Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC M.S.A.1,179198
171Austin-Round Rock, TX M.S.A.3,392165
3Bakersfield, CA M.S.A.6,477732
73Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD M.S.A.8,541305
308Bangor, ME M.S.A.8455
165Baton Rouge, LA M.S.A.1,408169
269Bay City, MI M.S.A.8783
122Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX M.S.A.856210
206Bend-Redmond, OR M.S.A.242134
11Billings, MT M.S.A.914537
267Binghamton, NY M.S.A.20986
57Bismarck, ND M.S.A.449347
302Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford, VA M.S.A.10759
309Bloomington, IL M.S.A.10254
174Bloomington, IN M.S.A.268161
201Boise City, ID M.S.A.950137
183Boulder, CO M.S.A.498154
202Bowling Green, KY M.S.A.233137
125Bremerton-Silverdale, WA M.S.A.535204
164Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT M.S.A.1,600171
279Brownsville-Harlingen, TX M.S.A.33178
163Brunswick, GA M.S.A.200172
207Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY M.S.A.1,499133
226Burlington, NC M.S.A.189118
296California-Lexington Park, MD M.S.A.7163
231Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL M.S.A.819114
237Cape Girardeau, MO-IL M.S.A.105108
177Carson City, NV M.S.A.86157
141Casper, WY M.S.A.157189
312Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA M.S.A.7448
247Champaign-Urbana, IL M.S.A.23799
98Charleston-North Charleston, SC M.S.A.1,961257
44Charleston, WV M.S.A.847388
274Charlottesville, VA M.S.A.18580
62Chattanooga, TN-GA M.S.A.1,845335
93Cheyenne, WY M.S.A.258265
143Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI M.S.A.217,849187
27Chico, CA M.S.A.1,021454
203Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN M.S.A.2,947136
225Clarksville, TN-KY M.S.A.339119
85Cleveland-Elyria, OH M.S.A.5,822283
56Cleveland, TN M.S.A.424348
210Coeur d'Alene, ID M.S.A.203132
221College Station-Bryan, TX M.S.A.306121
55Colorado Springs, CO M.S.A.2,465348
146Columbia, MO M.S.A.320181
38Columbia, SC M.S.A.3,261398
54Columbus, GA-AL M.S.A.1,125355
116Columbus, IN M.S.A.175214
113Columbus, OH M.S.A.4,415216
142Corpus Christi, TX M.S.A.855187
233Corvallis, OR M.S.A.100113
204Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FL M.S.A.362135
292Cumberland, MD-WV M.S.A.6566
95Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX M.S.A.219,070264
48Dalton, GA M.S.A.528367
217Danville, IL M.S.A.97124
120Dayton, OH M.S.A.1,688211
173Decatur, AL M.S.A.246162
252Decatur, IL M.S.A.10195
124Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL M.S.A.1,306207
24Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO M.S.A.13,278463
59Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI M.S.A.14,741343
249Dover, DE M.S.A.16896
253Dubuque, IA M.S.A.9294
188Duluth, MN-WI M.S.A.417149
304East Stroudsburg, PA M.S.A.9557
293Eau Claire, WI M.S.A.10865
67El Centro, CA M.S.A.576320
234El Paso, TX M.S.A.935111
264Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, KY M.S.A.12886
311Elmira, NY M.S.A.4552
185Enid, OK M.S.A.97152
294Erie, PA M.S.A.17864
86Eugene, OR M.S.A.1,037282
161Evansville, IN-KY M.S.A.544172
40Fairbanks, AK M.S.A.137395
119Fargo, ND-MN M.S.A.496211
105Farmington, NM M.S.A.277239
198Fayetteville, NC M.S.A.539142
283Flagstaff, AZ M.S.A.10575
187Flint, MI M.S.A.616151
136Florence-Muscle Shoals, AL M.S.A.283193
89Florence, SC M.S.A.555268
313Fond du Lac, WI M.S.A.4847
232Fort Collins, CO M.S.A.386113
110Fort Smith, AR-OK M.S.A.633226
223Fort Wayne, IN M.S.A.519120
13Fresno, CA M.S.A.5,186531
51Gadsden, AL M.S.A.371362
128Gainesville, FL M.S.A.557199
129Gainesville, GA M.S.A.389198
324Gettysburg, PA M.S.A.2625
326Glens Falls, NY M.S.A.2117
145Goldsboro, NC M.S.A.230185
166Grand Forks, ND-MN M.S.A.171168
191Grand Island, NE M.S.A.126147
147Grand Junction, CO M.S.A.266179
258Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI M.S.A.94890
37Grants Pass, OR M.S.A.345403
84Great Falls, MT M.S.A.234284
112Greeley, CO M.S.A.650223
297Green Bay, WI M.S.A.20063
214Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV M.S.A.335128
81Hammond, LA M.S.A.373287
52Hanford-Corcoran, CA M.S.A.537359
299Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA M.S.A.35262
305Harrisonburg, VA M.S.A.7557
106Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT M.S.A.2,418237
246Hattiesburg, MS M.S.A.150100
176Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC M.S.A.335158
251Hinesville, GA M.S.A.7795
281Homosassa Springs, FL M.S.A.11078
45Hot Springs, AR M.S.A.366376
235Houma-Thibodaux, LA M.S.A.231109
60Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX M.S.A.23,117340
87Huntsville, AL M.S.A.1,257280
250Idaho Falls, ID M.S.A.13696
61Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN M.S.A.6,796339
280Iowa City, IA M.S.A.13278
236Jackson, MI M.S.A.172108
180Jackson, TN M.S.A.202156
104Jacksonville, FL M.S.A.3,623246
277Janesville-Beloit, WI M.S.A.12779
242Jefferson City, MO M.S.A.157104
213Johnson City, TN M.S.A.259129
323Johnstown, PA M.S.A.4735
196Jonesboro, AR M.S.A.187144
32Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI M.S.A.717435
192Kalamazoo-Portage, MI M.S.A.493146
238Kankakee, IL M.S.A.118107
144Kennewick-Richland, WA M.S.A.531186
167Killeen-Temple, TX M.S.A.725167
131Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA M.S.A.605198
321Kingston, NY M.S.A.6536
109Knoxville, TN M.S.A.1,976228
205Kokomo, IN M.S.A.111135
290La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN M.S.A.9267
208Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN M.S.A.287133
91Lake Charles, LA M.S.A.549266
157Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL M.S.A.1,152174
316Lancaster, PA M.S.A.23944
189Lansing-East Lansing, MI M.S.A.707149
266Laredo, TX M.S.A.23586
133Las Cruces, NM M.S.A.418195
18Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV M.S.A.10,872504
123Lawton, OK M.S.A.269207
289Lebanon, PA M.S.A.9267
284Lewiston-Auburn, ME M.S.A.8075
138Lewiston, ID-WA M.S.A.120191
83Lexington-Fayette, KY M.S.A.1,436284
179Lima, OH M.S.A.162156
228Lincoln, NE M.S.A.384117
300Logan, UT-ID M.S.A.8361
58Longview, WA M.S.A.360346
35Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA M.S.A.56,033420
30Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN M.S.A.5,675442
47Lubbock, TX M.S.A.1,161370
282Lynchburg, VA M.S.A.19876
70Macon-Bibb County, GA M.S.A.719313
46Madera, CA M.S.A.572370
257Madison, WI M.S.A.59091
287Manchester-Nashua, NH M.S.A.28871
260Manhattan, KS M.S.A.8990
278Mankato-North Mankato, MN M.S.A.7878
219Mansfield, OH M.S.A.149123
212McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX M.S.A.1,107130
72Medford, OR M.S.A.670311
71Memphis, TN-MS-AR M.S.A.4,184311
12Merced, CA M.S.A.1,433533
80Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL M.S.A.17,572287
154Michigan City-La Porte, IN M.S.A.194176
322Midland, MI M.S.A.3036
169Midland, TX M.S.A.286167
25Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI M.S.A.7,239459
140Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI M.S.A.26,743190
132Missoula, MT M.S.A.227197
63Mobile, AL M.S.A.1,384334
5Modesto, CA M.S.A.3,496648
97Monroe, LA M.S.A.462258
68Montgomery, AL M.S.A.1,192320
265Morgantown, WV M.S.A.12086
100Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA M.S.A.309251
118Muncie, IN M.S.A.246211
194Muskegon, MI M.S.A.250145
75Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, SC-NC M.S.A.1,334300
182Napa, CA M.S.A.222156
288Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FL M.S.A.24667
168Nashville - Davidson - Murfreesboro - Franklin, TN M.S.A.3,104167
241New Bern, NC M.S.A.132105
74New Haven-Milford, CT M.S.A.2,445304
79New Orleans-Metairie, LA M.S.A.3,660288
261New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA M.S.A.18,03089
216Niles-Benton Harbor, MI M.S.A.192125
245North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL M.S.A.810103
211Norwich-New London, CT M.S.A.208131
151Ocala, FL M.S.A.613177
310Ocean City, NJ M.S.A.4952
36Odessa, TX M.S.A.680415
181Ogden-Clearfield, UT M.S.A.21,018156
65Oklahoma City, OK M.S.A.4,521329
90Olympia-Tumwater, WA M.S.A.733267
29Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA M.S.A.4,081442
115Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL M.S.A.65,261215
275Oshkosh-Neenah, WI M.S.A.13479
107Owensboro, KY M.S.A.271230
134Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA M.S.A.1,650194
126Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL M.S.A.1,154201
114Panama City, FL M.S.A.432215
200Parkersburg-Vienna, WV M.S.A.126137
178Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL M.S.A.760157
248Peoria, IL M.S.A.37299
170Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD M.S.A.10,060166
77Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ M.S.A.13,484289
263Pittsburgh, PA M.S.A.2,04587
298Pittsfield, MA M.S.A.7962
162Pocatello, ID M.S.A.145172
273Port St. Lucie, FL M.S.A.37281
306Portland-South Portland, ME M.S.A.29456
42Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA M.S.A.9,498390
239Prescott, AZ M.S.A.239106
256Provo-Orem, UT M.S.A.54992
2Pueblo, CO M.S.A.1,331810
295Punta Gorda, FL M.S.A.11264
272Racine, WI M.S.A.15881
117Rapid City, SD M.S.A.310213
268Reading, PA M.S.A.35385
20Redding, CA M.S.A.872488
39Reno, NV M.S.A.1,813396
15Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA M.S.A.23,267516
222Roanoke, VA M.S.A.378120
259Rochester, MN M.S.A.19490
243Rochester, NY M.S.A.1,114104
156Rockford, IL M.S.A.590175
135Rome, GA M.S.A.187194
49Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA M.S.A.8,366366
276Saginaw, MI M.S.A.15179
78Salem, OR M.S.A.1,202289
8Salinas, CA M.S.A.2,518580
286Salisbury, MD-DE M.S.A.28371
7Salt Lake City, UT M.S.A.7,026590
99San Angelo, TX M.S.A.308255
50San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX M.S.A.8,815363
64San Diego-Carlsbad, CA M.S.A.11,025332
6San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA M.S.A.28,210602
17San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA M.S.A.10,066506
149San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA M.S.A.501178
14Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA M.S.A.1,454530
139Santa Fe, NM M.S.A.284191
88Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA M.S.A.1,220274
153Santa Rosa, CA M.S.A.885176
76Savannah, GA M.S.A.1,129293
9Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA M.S.A.21,318560
240Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL M.S.A.158105
224Sebring, FL M.S.A.120120
307Sheboygan, WI M.S.A.6455
160Sherman-Denison, TX M.S.A.218173
96Shreveport-Bossier City, LA M.S.A.1,149259
209Sierra Vista-Douglas, AZ M.S.A.166132
101Sioux City, IA-NE-SD M.S.A.423251
92Sioux Falls, SD M.S.A.681266
82South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI M.S.A.916286
10Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA M.S.A.2,998541
184Springfield, IL M.S.A.322153
152Springfield, MA M.S.A.1,112176
28Springfield, MO M.S.A.2,054447
103Springfield, OH M.S.A.334247
244St. Cloud, MN M.S.A.202103
218St. George, UT M.S.A.197123
16St. Joseph, MO-KS M.S.A.641506
325State College, PA M.S.A.2918
285Staunton-Waynesboro, VA M.S.A.8873
23Stockton-Lodi, CA M.S.A.3,542486
127Sumter, SC M.S.A.216201
254Syracuse, NY M.S.A.61694
53Tallahassee, FL M.S.A.1,352355
148Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL M.S.A.5,378178
108Texarkana, TX-AR M.S.A.343229
319The Villages, FL M.S.A.5342
172Toledo, OH M.S.A.991164
34Topeka, KS M.S.A.983423
193Trenton, NJ M.S.A.541146
94Tucson, AZ M.S.A.2,698265
21Tulsa, OK M.S.A.4,801488
158Tuscaloosa, AL M.S.A.420174
31Urban Honolulu, HI M.S.A.4,346437
301Utica-Rome, NY M.S.A.17560
159Valdosta, GA M.S.A.249174
19Vallejo-Fairfield, CA M.S.A.2,164494
227Vineland-Bridgeton, NJ M.S.A.183118
150Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC M.S.A.3,061177
26Visalia-Porterville, CA M.S.A.2,111459
230Waco, TX M.S.A.306116
102Walla Walla, WA M.S.A.160247
137Warner Robins, GA M.S.A.366193
215Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV M.S.A.7,753126
229Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA M.S.A.200117
320Watertown-Fort Drum, NY M.S.A.4942
315Wausau, WI M.S.A.6145
303Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH M.S.A.6958
199Wenatchee, WA M.S.A.167142
271Wheeling, WV-OH M.S.A.11782
111Wichita Falls, TX M.S.A.338225
43Wichita, KS M.S.A.2,510390
314Williamsport, PA M.S.A.5245
190Wilmington, NC M.S.A.421149
291Winchester, VA-WV M.S.A.8966
22Yakima, WA M.S.A.1,218486
255York-Hanover, PA M.S.A.40792
33Yuba City, CA M.S.A.738433

Methodology

We compiled vehicle theft data for 326 metropolitan statistical areas from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program for the most recent year data was available. Population figures are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau. We excluded those areas that were determined by the FBI to be under- or overreporting thefts. Vehicle registration data for each state was collected from the Bureau of Transportation.