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Car Thefts Down by More than 15%, Says CHP

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Photo The Eye of Brad via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Photo The Eye of Brad via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
As the economy tanked in 2009, so did car thefts, which saw a 15.4% decline in areas patrolled by the California Highway Patrol, the agency announced today. Police credit the drop from nearly 200,000 cars in 2008 to 169,000 in 2009 to enforcement, education and technology. “Vehicle theft prevention efforts by law enforcement agencies and the public are paying off,” said California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Since 2005, California has realized a 35 percent reduction in stolen vehicles.”

Although the number of cars stolen in California is shockingly high -- it's about equivalent to a car taken every three minutes -- 88% of those vehicles are recovered. Still, the economic loss exceeds $1 billion dollars.

Over a quarter of vehicles were stolen in Los Angeles County and more than 50% of statewide thefts occurred in the Los Angeles five-county region.

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The numbers, however, do not include cars stolen in areas patrolled for vehicles by other agencies. For example in unincorporated Castaic, the CHP is in charge of traffic crimes, including grand theft auto, while L.A. County Sheriff's Deputies patrol the area for other violent crimes. But in Los Angeles, the LAPD is charged with tracking all crimes. There, 10,765 vehicles have been reported stolen this year. That's a 8.1% drop when compared to last year this time.