Databases

Places with the most vehicle theft in each state

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First, the good news.

Motor vehicle theft has dropped significantly in the United States since the early ‘90s.

In fact, it's nearly three times less common today than it was in 1993.

Now, the bad news. Car theft remains a big problem in some regions of the country.

At FindTheHome, a real estate data site that's part of the Graphiq network, we set out to compare vehicle theft rates around America. We turned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports to analyze the data. In the visualization below, we’ve mapped car thefts by county across the United States.

 

Car theft is lowest in the Northeast, and particularly in New York. While New York has low rates of car ownership in the first place, the New York Police Department also credits better car technology, the decreasing value of older cars and faster photo I.D. tracking as key factors for dropping rates.

Modern “engine immobilizer” technology — adopted by most manufacturers around the turn of the millennium — now prevents thieves from “hot-wiring” vehicles. If they don’t have the key, they can’t start the car.

On the flip side is Southern California, among the worst areas for car theft in the nation. Not only is California packed with vehicles, but it’s also close to Mexico. Some point to illegal sales south of the border as an ongoing incentive for theft.

Some thieves have developed new methods to keep pace with improving technology, including a so-called “power amplifier.” According to the New York Times, a $30 amplifier can connect a key fob to a car, even when the two are some 50 feet away. In theory, a thief could activate the fob in your pocket or purse, even as you shop for an outfit or dine at a restaurant.

That said, California’s worst county for vehicle theft is actually in Northern California. In the following list, we’ve determined the county with the highest rate of car theft in each state. To avoid outlier counties with low sample sizes, we’ve focused only on counties at or above the 50th percentile by population in each state.

Note that the FBI reports city- and county-level car thefts separately, and the two do not overlap. For each county, our data team combined the numbers from the county itself and the cities within the county, then calculated the overall theft rate per 100,000 people. The data comes from 2014, the latest year available.

While we’ve ordered the overall list from lowest to highest vehicle theft rate, the FBI cautions against interpreting a list like this as a definitive ranking.

Disclaimer: The data published here is meant solely to illustrate the relative rates of car theft, and not to make assertions about the effectiveness of law enforcement. There are many factors that affect the rate and nature of crime — such as the degree of urbanization, composition of age groups, economic climate and modes of transportation within an area — which are not considered here.

#50. Vermont: Windham County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 22.7
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 10
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 1,284.9
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 566
 

 
County Population: 44,050
 
Major City in County: Brattleboro*

*All numbers are aggregated to the overall county level, but we’ve noted a major city in each county for reference.

#49. Maine: Androscoggin County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 67.9
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 73
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 2,062.9
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 2,217
 

 
County Population: 107,470
 
Major City in County: Lewiston

#48. New Hampshire: Hillsborough County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 79
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 318
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 2,037.6
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 8,207
 

 
County Population: 402,776
 
Major City in County: Manchester

#47. Delaware: New Castle County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 134.7
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 735
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 1,930.8
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 10,539
 

 
County Population: 545,846
 
Major City in County: Wilmington

#46. New York: Erie County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 140.9
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 1,297
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 2,616.5
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 24,090
 

 
County Population: 920,694
 
Major City in County: Buffalo

#45. Wyoming: Sweetwater County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 161.5
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 72
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 1,838.8
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 820
 

 
County Population: 44,595
 
Major City in County: Rock Springs

#44. West Virginia: Kanawha County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 170.5
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 327
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 3,491.3
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 6,695
 

 
County Population: 191,765
 
Major City in County: Charleston

#43. Idaho: Nez Perce County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 216.9
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 86
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 3,096.7
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 1,228
 

 
County Population: 39,655
 
Major City in County: Lewiston

#42. South Dakota: Pennington County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 220.9
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 231
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 3,062.9
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 3,203
 

 
County Population: 104,574
 
Major City in County: Rapid City

#41. Rhode Island: Providence County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 235
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 1,479
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 2,422.9
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 15,247
 

 
County Population: 629,280
 
Major City in County: Providence

#40. Massachusetts: Suffolk County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 237.6
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 1,777
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 2,619.4
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 19,591
 

 
County Population: 747,928
 
Major City in County: Boston

#39. Illinois: Cook County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 240.1
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 12,551
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 2,445.8
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 127,863
 

 
County Population: 5,227,827
 
Major City in County: Chicago

#38. Arizona: Maricopa County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 249.5
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 9,848
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 2,546
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 100,499
 

 
County Population: 3,947,382
 
Major City in County: Phoenix

#37. Connecticut: New Haven County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 258.9
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 2,235
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 2,455.8
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 21,197
 

 
County Population: 863,148
 
Major City in County: New Haven

#36. North Carolina: Columbus County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 302.5
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 174
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 4,475.6
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 2,574
 

 
County Population: 57,512
 
Major City in County: Whiteville

#35. Kentucky: Jefferson County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 323.5
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 2,431
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 4,111.5
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 30,897
 

 
County Population: 751,485
 
Major City in County: Louisville/Jefferson County

#34. Florida: Miami-Dade County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 324.6
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 8,442
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 4,007
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 104,216
 

 
County Population: 2,600,861
 
Major City in County: Miami

#33. Virginia: Richmond City

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 347.8
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 734
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 3,974.2
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 8,388
 

 
County Population: 211,063
 
Major City in County: Richmond

#32. Utah: Salt Lake County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 349.5
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 3,718
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 3,300.7
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 35,109
 

 
County Population: 1,063,670
 
Major City in County: Salt Lake City

#31. Ohio: Cuyahoga County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 351
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 4,449
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 2,402.8
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 30,456
 

 
County Population: 1,267,513
 
Major City in County: Cleveland

#30. Alaska: Northwest Arctic Borough

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 351.9
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 27
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 1,863.9
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 143
 

 
County Population: 7,672
 
Major City in County: Kotzebue

#29. Hawaii: Maui County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 358.9
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 570
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 3,652.1
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 5,800
 

 
County Population: 158,814
 
Major City in County: Kahului

#28. Arkansas: Pulaski County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 361.9
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 1,407
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 5,655.5
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 21,986
 

 
County Population: 388,752
 
Major City in County: Little Rock

#27. Pennsylvania: Philadelphia County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 370.3
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 5,728
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 3,414.3
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 52,816
 

 
County Population: 1,546,920
 
Major City in County: Philadelphia

#26. Tennessee: Hamilton County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 389.8
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 1,344
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 4,295.3
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 14,809
 

 
County Population: 344,772
 
Major City in County: Chattanooga

#25. Montana: Yellowstone County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 417.2
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 634
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 3,760.1
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 5,714
 

 
County Population: 151,965
 
Major City in County: Billings

#24. Nevada: Clark County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 427.3
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 8,562
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 2,798.9
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 56,080
 

 
County Population: 2,003,613
 
Major City in County: Las Vegas

#23. Mississippi: Hinds County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 481.8
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 1,187
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 4,488.1
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 11,057
 

 
County Population: 246,364
 
Major City in County: Jackson

#22. Minnesota: Ramsey County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 487.7
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 2,542
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 3,359.9
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 17,514
 

 
County Population: 521,265
 
Major City in County: St. Paul

#21. New Jersey: Essex County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 511
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 4,035
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 2,223.1
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 17,554
 

 
County Population: 789,616
 
Major City in County: Newark

#20. South Carolina: Orangeburg County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 511.7
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 467
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 3,974.3
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 3,627
 

 
County Population: 91,262
 
Major City in County: Orangeburg

#19. Colorado: Denver County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 541.8
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 3,434
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 3,526.8
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 22,352
 

 
County Population: 633,777
 
Major City in County: Denver

#18. Oklahoma: Oklahoma County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 557.5
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 4,143
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 4,665.9
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 34,674
 

 
County Population: 743,145
 
Major City in County: Oklahoma City

#17. Oregon: Multnomah County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 563
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 4,264
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 5,159.8
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 39,079
 

 
County Population: 757,371
 
Major City in County: Portland

#16. New Mexico: Bernalillo County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 564.2
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 3,788
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 4,845.8
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 32,536
 

 
County Population: 671,429
 
Major City in County: Albuquerque

#15. Alabama: Russell County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 570.4
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 325
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 4,743.8
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 2,703
 

 
County Population: 56,980
 
Major City in County: Phenix City

#14. Indiana: Marion County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 576.7
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 5,302
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 4,638
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 42,639
 

 
County Population: 919,336
 
Major City in County: Indianapolis

#13. Iowa: Pottawattamie County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 584
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 544
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 5,058.3
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 4,712
 

 
County Population: 93,153
 
Major City in County: Council Bluffs

#12. Nebraska: Douglas County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 614.1
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 3,261
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 3,839.9
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 20,392
 

 
County Population: 531,057
 
Major City in County: Omaha

#11. Kansas: Wyandotte County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 632.1
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 1,008
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 4,859.3
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 7,749
 

 
County Population: 159,466
 
Major City in County: Kansas City

#10. Washington: Spokane County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 652.1
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 3,110
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 5,823.9
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 27,777
 

 
County Population: 476,950
 
Major City in County: Spokane

#9. Georgia: Fulton County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 670.3
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 6,482
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 4,877.4
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 47,169
 

 
County Population: 967,100
 
Major City in County: Atlanta

#8. Texas: Potter County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 706.3
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 862
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 7,784.3
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 9,501
 

 
County Population: 122,053
 
Major City in County: Amarillo

#7. Michigan: Wayne County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 709
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 12,691
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 3,080.3
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 55,139
 

 
County Population: 1,790,078
 
Major City in County: Detroit

#6. Louisiana: Orleans Parish

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 709.7
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 2,615
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 4,445.9
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 16,382
 

 
County Population: 368,471
 
Major City in County: New Orleans

#5. Maryland: Baltimore City

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 720.9
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 4,486
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 4,727.8
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 29,420
 

 
County Population: 622,271
 
Major City in County: Baltimore

Note that Baltimore City is also classified as a county.

#4. Wisconsin: Milwaukee County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 760.2
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 7,248
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 4,022.7
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 38,352
 

 
County Population: 953,401
 
Major City in County: Milwaukee

#3. California: Alameda County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 777.5
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 12,123
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 3,480.5
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 54,272
 

 
County Population: 1,559,308
 
Major City in County: Oakland

#2. Missouri: St. Louis City

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 1018.7
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 3,247
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 6,249.6
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 19,919
 

 
County Population: 318,727
 
Major City in County: St. Louis

#1. North Dakota: Williams County

 

Vehicle Thefts per 100K People: 1097.3
 
Total Vehicle Thefts in 2014: 297
 

 
Property Crimes per 100K People: 5,952.1
 
Total Property Crimes in 2014: 1,611
 

 
County Population: 27,066
 
Major City in County: Williston

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