We always think of hot spots as great new restaurants or happening neighborhoods. But if you pay attention to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, you may realize their definition of "hot spot" is a little different. Each year, the NICB releases their report of the "hot spots" for vehicle theft. When they put together this report, the NICB looks at major metropolitan areas around the country to look at the rates of vehicle rates per capita. Of the top 10 spots, two of these were in Washington - the Spokane area ranked 9th, and Yakima was 5th. The remaining 8 spots were all in California, and if you happen to be in Modesto or Fresno, park carefully and lock your doors. Those two metro areas have shared the top two spots for both 2011 and 2012.

Of course, the report isn't all doom and gloom. The NICB report offers "4 Layers of Protection" to prevent vehicle thefts and while those of us in Western Washington are free of the top 10 list, there are a few things that we can do to make sure our cars are safe and sound:

  • Common Sense
    • Remove your keys from the ignition
    • Lock your doors/close your windows
    • Park in a well-lit area
  • Warning Devices
    • Audible alarms
    • Steering wheel column collars
    • Steering wheel/brake pedal locks
    • Brake locks
    • Wheel locks
    • Theft deterrent decals
    • Identification markers in or on vehicle
    • VIN etching
    • Micro do marking
  • Immobilizing Devices
    • Smart keys
    • Fuse cut-offs
    • Kill switches
    • Starter, ignition and fuel pump disablers
    • Wireless ignition authentication
  • Tracking Devices
    • GPS devices
    • Telematics
    • Wireless transmitting devices


Many cars have some of these devices built in, and most of us have a bit of common sense. That said, we could all use a gentle reminder now and then about making sure our cars stay safe. And we can also be grateful that the Seattle metro area isn't in the top ten.