Spokane drops in the national car theft rankings

SPOKANE, Wash. - It takes a few seconds more now to scroll through the National Insurance Crime Bureau rankings to find Spokane. 

After spending too long near the top-ten, the Spokane area is now ranked at 36 for its rate of car theft. 

"Its a number we haven't seen for a long time," said Corporal Teresa Fuller, a spokeswoman for the Spokane Police Department. 

She attributes the drop to a multitude of factors, not least of which is new technology the force is putting to use. 

"We have several cars with license plate readers, which have been a great tool," she said, "they drive around on the streets and we can get a stolen license plate hit." 

They can then make a stop and arrest the driver.

Another reason, a grant from the Washington Auto Theft Prevention association that allowed them to give away anti-car theft devices for those with high risk vehicles. 

Nationwide, the top three most stolen vehicles are 1997 Honda Accords, 1998 Honda Civics, 2006 Ford Pick-Ups. 

The most recent top ten rankings can be found here

For owners of those vehicles, Fuller suggests taking precautions, purchasing anti-theft devices, like steering wheel locks. As the weather begins to get colder, she also reminds folks to be smart about leaving their cars unattended.

"Don't leave your car running with your keys in it, don't make it easy for car prowlers," she said. 

In characterizing the Spokane car theft problem, she said its largely drug driven, with folks stealing cars and driving them to and from drug deals, using them until they run out of gas.

"In the meantime, stuff is getting stolen out of the vehicle, its getting crashed into other cars, potentially getting into a pursuit with the police," she said. 

For folks who have had their car stolen they are advised to call Crime-Check or 911 and be ready to give as detailed a description of their car as possible. 

"We need your license plate number and a very good description, if you have bumper stickers, lights broke, if you just put really awesome rims on your tires," she said. 

For more on the most recent NICB rankings, click here