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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

Spokane leads state in auto thefts and again had among worst rates in nation last year, study finds

You’re more likely to lose a car or truck to thieves in Spokane than in any other city statewide, a new study indicates.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau's 2014 Hot Spots report shows Spokane suffered from the highest rate of vehicle theft of any Washington city in 2014, and again was among the 10 worst in the country.

Motorists reported 3,032 stolen vehicles in 2014 in Spokane, about 560 for every 100,000 people. That was the 6th highest rate in the United States, pushing Spokane up from 7th in 2013 despite a 5.4 percent drop in the number of vehicle thefts reported last year.

The rate was slightly lower in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area, which reported 20,268 stolen vehicles, about 552 for every 100,000 people. Next on the Washington list was Yakima, followed by Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Longview, Mount Vernon, Bremerton-Silverdale, Olympia-Tumwater, Walla Walla and Lewiston.

Auto theft in Washington has jumped 17.8 percent since 2011, and 34,024 vehicles in the state were reported stolen in 2014, according to the Northwest Insurance Council. That’s an average of 93 vehicles stolen each day and nearly four stolen each hour.

California cities took seven of the top 10 spots on the national list, with the highest theft rate in the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward area.

Vehicle theft is the nation’s number-one property crime, costing an estimated $4.1 billion in 2013, according to the FBI.

Chad Sokol
Chad Sokol is a general assignment reporter for the City Desk. He joined The Spokesman-Review in 2015 as an intern in the Olympia bureau covering state government. After a stint of freelancing, he joined the staff in 2016. His focuses include higher education, jails and prisons, white nationalism and anti-government extremism.

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