Car thefts in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue up 20 percent

Car thefts in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue up 20 percent
SEATTLE -- Car theft rates in Seattle, Tacoma and Bellevue spiked almost 20 percent in 2010, the National Insurance Crime Bureau said, and the area is now ranked 13th in the nation for car thefts instead of 37th.

The Northwest Insurance Council says the statistics should serve as a warning to local drivers.

"It actually costs every one of us when you see auto theft rise," said council president Karl Newman.

Of the more than 16,000 cars missing from Seattle Metro area last year, 15-year-old Hondas and Toyotas were the most sought-after vehicles.

"They want your car specifically because it has the right engine or the right fenders, or whatever," said Washington State Patrol Sgt. Dave Bolton. "They have a car that needs those parts. They'll steal your car to remove the parts and put them on their car."

The insurance council said prior to the recent spike, the rate of car thefts was on a steady decline thanks to newer cars and better security systems.

The King County Prosecutor's Office says the sudden spike might be due, in part, to the recent release of a few prolific thieves from prison.

Spokane now ranks fourth in the nation for car thefts.

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Washington cities with the highest theft rates:

1. Spokane: 2,763 / 586.35 (Thefts / Theft Rate*)
2. Yakima: 1,266 / 520.49
3. Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue: 16,192 / 470.72
4. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro: 6,860 / 308.17
5. Longview: 293 / 286.10
6. Olympia: 468 / 185.52
7. Mount Vernon-Anacortes: 202 / 172.80
8. Bremerton-Silverdale: 396 / 157.69
9. Kennewick-Pasco-Richland: 392 / 154.73
10. Wenatchee-E. Wenatchee: 153 / 137.98

*The theft rate is based on the number of thefts per 100,000 inhabitants using 2009 U.S. Census data.

Washington's most stolen vehicles, according to NICB statistics:

1. 1992 Honda Accord
2. 1995 Honda Civic
3. 1990 Toyota Camry
4. 1995 Acura Integra
5. 1993 Subaru Legacy
6. 1994 Nissan Sentra
7. 1993 Dodge Caravan
8. 1994 Saturn SL
9. 1994 Ford Explorer
10. 1995 Nissan Pathfinder