While a new report shows a slight decrease in California's car thefts, the numbers aren't enough to break Southern California's streak as being a "hotbed for car thieves."
More than 170,000 vehicles were reported stolen in 2013 with a value totaling about $1 billion, according to the California Highway Patrol. Those numbers reflect a 2 percent decrease from 2012, but show an overall 9 percent increase since 2011.
The Honda Accord ranks as the most frequently stolen car, while Toyota pickups are the top stolen trucks.
Southern California remains a popular place for car thieves, with nearly half of all vehicle thefts happening in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties, officials said.
LA County accounted for nearly a quarter of SoCal car thefts for the year, CHP officials said. More than 41,000 vehicles were stolen in the county in 2013, an 8 percent drop from 2010.
Better technology combined with more careful car owners and aggressive police work are behind that success, CHP officials said.
“Vehicle theft is a crime of opportunity,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said in a news release. “The last thing anyone should do is make it easier for or enable criminals.”
The CHP recommended car owners park in secure locations, use alarm systems and lock their doors to prevent thefts.
Of the vehicles stolen in 2013, almost 90 percent were recovered, due in part to collaboration among CHP and other law enforcement groups.
This year, all CHP vehicles were using license-plate readers on patrols.
“Officers are actively looking for vehicles that are stolen,” CHP Officer Edgar Figueroa said.
The readers have raised concerns among privacy advocates.
Earlier this year, a San Francisco woman’s civil lawsuit against the city was reinstated by a federal court. The woman sued the city for wrongful detention and excessive force after police detained her when her car was mistakenly identified by license-plate readers as stolen.