The California Highway Patrol is touting new technology and aggressive police work for a decrease in auto thefts statewide in 2013.
California saw a 2 percent decline in the number of autos stolen in 2013, which followed an 11 percent surge in 2012.
The CHP reported 171,036 vehicles were stolen statewide in 2013, which is an estimated value of $1 billion. Of that, 89.4 percent were successfully recovered, representing 152,854 recovered vehicles.
"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.
Of the vehicles recovered statewide, 63.5 percent were recovered intact and in drivable condition, 4.2 percent were missing major components, 14 percent were stripped of minor parts, and the remaining 18.3 percent were intentionally burned and/or wrecked.
Among the vehicles stolen last year in California, 58.9 percent were automobiles, 25.8 percent were personal trucks and vans, 4.5 percent were commercial trucks and trailers, and 4.4 percent were motorcycles. All other vehicles (recreational, construction and farm equipment, and special construction) accounted for 6.4 percent of vehicles stolen.
Southern California continues to be a hotbed for car thieves, with nearly half of all vehicle thefts occurring in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties.
Car thieves in Northern California, specifically the San Francisco Bay Area, accounted for 18.9 percent of all thefts. Approximately 4.2 percent of all thefts occurred in Sacramento County and 3.8 percent in Fresno County.
Stanislaus County accounted for about 2 percent of all statewide thefts in 2013.
Stanislaus County recorded 3,479 auto thefts in 2013, which is down by 15.6 percent from the 4,124 reported in 2012, according to the CHP. The county recorded 2,980 recovered vehicles in 2013.
The Honda Accord continues to be the car that thieves most love to steal, ranking as the number one stolen vehicle statewide. Toyota pickup trucks are also popular with thieves and have consistently, since 1984, been the most frequently stolen pickup truck.
"Vehicle theft is a crime of opportunity," Farrow said. "The last thing anyone should do is make it easier for or enable criminals. The public can take a few extra precautions with their vehicles and decrease the odds of becoming a victim."