Mono County has been singled out as having the highest increase in auto theft in California.
According to the California Highway Patrol office in Sacramento, auto theft statewide was down 12.2% in 2008. A press release from the state office shows that auto theft may be down, but among the 58 counties in California, Mono County registered a whopping 133.3% increase in auto theft.
It doesnt take a mathematician to figure out how Mono ended up with an enormous increase in auto thefts last year, but it does require some knowledge of our area and the fact that percentages here can be wildly skewed by small numbers.
When we called the CHP office in Bishop to ask about local auto thefts, Officer Roberts explained that Mono County had 7 vehicles stolen in 2008, up from 3 stolen vehicles the year before. 4 of the 7 vehicles reported stolen in Mono County in 2008 were recovered.
In Inyo County, 28 vehicles were reported stolen in 2008. This is up from 22 stolen vehicles in 2007 or a 27% increase. Of the 28 vehicles reported stolen in 2008, Officer Roberts reports that all were recovered and then some. Speculating that a car reported stolen elsewhere was recovered in Inyo County, Roberts says that officers actually recovered 29 stolen vehicles in Inyo County in 2008, one more than was reported stolen.
Of the cars stolen statewide, the number one most stolen car is the Honda Accord made between 1990 and 1992. The Toyota Camry and the Honda Civic are also popular targets. When it comes to trucks, the top four on the list of popular stolen vehicles are all 1980s vintage Toyota pick-ups. Number five on the truck list is the 2006 Chevy Silverado.
Officer Roberts says that any stolen vehicle is one too many, and adds that in Inyo County, many of the vehicles stolen end up being joy rides. Other times kids heading home from a party will find a car with the doors unlocked and the keys in the ignition and will drive the car somewhere near their homes. The simple, but often ignored, solution is to lock your car and not leave the keys in the ignition or on the seat.