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Bremerton-Silverdale, a Top 10 Washington city for auto theft

While some people raced to video game stores to buy “Grand Theft Auto IV” this week, others were out looking for the real deal.

The NW Insurance Council recently released the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) findings on auto theft rates for 2007 and the Bremerton-Silverdale area cracked the Top 10 on the state list.

The Bremerton-Silverdale area has the 9th highest auto theft rate in the state of Washington, according to the NW Insurance Council and NICB. With nearly 192 thefts per 100,000 inhabitants and 454 thefts in 2007, Trooper Krista Hedstrom, Washington State Patrol spokeswoman, was somewhat surprised.

“It is a little bit surprising,” she said.

NW Insurance Council spokesman Darrin Sanger said compared to 2006, there has been an overall decrease in auto theft. In 2007, 42,251 vehicles were reported stolen in Washington, a 5.2 percent drop from the 44,563 vehicles reported stolen in 2006.

“Cars are being stolen everyday,” Sanger said.

Yakima took the No. 1 spot for auto theft in Washington and ranked 9th nationally. Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue came in second in the state and 16th in the nation.

“Even though auto theft is dropping across the state, Washington continues to be a haven for auto theft,” Sanger said.

Vehicle theft is the nation’s No. 1 property crime, costing an estimated $7.5 billion a year, according to NW Insurance Council.

“Consumers literally pay billions each year for auto theft,” NW Insurance Council President Karl Newman stated in a news release. “The cost to replace stolen vehicles and repair those that are recovered is reflected in your insurance rates.”

Hedstrom said a car is stolen every 13 minutes in Washington state and people can take a number of steps to protect themselves including parking in well-lit areas, never leaving valuables in plain sight in the vehicle and making sure vehicle windows are always rolled up all the way when left unattended.

“Some of these tips are really common sense,” Sanger said.

Sanger added that some people should consider installing some sort of security system or device on their vehicles to prevent theft.

“If you live in a high crime area or high traffic area it might make sense to purchase a security system,” Sanger said.

Hedstrom said the most important thing people can do to prevent their vehicle from being stolen is simple.

“Don’t leave your keys in the car — that makes it easy to steal,” Hedstrom said. “One out of five stolen cars are started with a key left in a car.”

NICB also tallied up a list of Washington’s most stolen vehicles. All of the vehicles were older models and Sanger said they are easier for thieves to break into.

“They are much easier to access and break into,” Sanger said. “The easier it is to break into a vehicle, the more likely they (thieves) are to do that.”

Washington cities with the highest theft rates:

1) Yakima

2) Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue

3) Spokane

4) Mount Vernon-Anacortes

5) Longview

6) Olympia

7) Kennewick-Richland-Pasco

8) Bellingham

9) Bremerton-Silverdale

10) Wenatchee

Washington’s most

stolen vehicles:

1) 1991 Honda Accord

2) 1995 Honda Civic

3) 1990 Toyota Camry

4) 1994 Acura Integra

5) 1994 Saturn SL

6) 1985 Toyota Pickup

7) 1994 Nissan Sentra

8) 1994 Jeep Cherokee/Grand

Cherokee

9) 1993 Dodge Caravan

10) 1989 Honda Prelude

*Lists developed by the National Insurance Crime Bureau

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