With 20,268 car thefts in 2014, the Tacoma-Seattle-Bellevue area placed eighth on the list of U.S. “hot spots” as compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
That’s worse than 2012, when the area placed 17th. In 2013 it placed 13th.
At least you don’t live in Spokane.
Residents of the heart of the Inland Empire placed sixth in the nationwide sweep, up from seventh in 2013 and ninth in 2012.
The top spot went to the San Francisco area, and California earned all other spots in the Top 10 — but for the Puget Sound area and Spokane.
In Washington, Spokane and the Puget Sound area were followed by Yakima, Portland-Vancouver, Longview, Mount Vernon, Bremerton-Silverdale, Olympia-Tumwater and Walla Walla.
Auto theft in Walla Walla rose 31.5 percent in 2014, and it increased in the Bremerton-Silverdale area by 12.4 percent, all while auto theft statewide has increased 17.8 percent since 2011, said the Northwest Insurance Council in a release this week.
In 2014, 34,024 vehicles were reported stolen in the state. That’s 93 per day, and nearly four per hour.
“Washington state continues to be a hotbed for auto thieves with a 6.5 percent overall increase in the number of auto thefts in 2014,” the council said.
It need not be thus.
The council goes on to provide details of a recommended “four layers of defense” aimed at deterring thieves. The layers include common sense, and the use of a warning device or deterrent, an immobilizing device and a tracking device.
Among common-sense measures, the council advised car owners to remove keys from the ignition, to lock doors and close windows, to park in a well-lit area and to hide valuables from view.
Among warning devices and other deterrents, the council suggests steering column collars, wheel locks, VIN etching, audible alarms and micro-dot marking.
Other suggestions include using smart keys, kill switches, system disablers and tracking devices.