San Francisco is the US capital of grand theft auto image

It appears there are real world GTA players out there – as the San Francisco Bay area for the first time ruled the nation when it came to the highest level of auto thefts across the 12 months of last year.

Computer gaming jokes aside, California remained the leader across the US in terms of stolen autos per capita, with the San Francisco Bay area leader for the first time – according to a recent report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The study found the region was the top “hot spot” for thefts in 2014, jumping from the fourth position occupied the year before. The Bakersfield and Stockton-Lodi areas, also in California – the most populous US state – were second and third. Actually, the greenest state in the US was also the unfortunate owner of seven of the top ten hot spots. “California is the auto-theft capital of the world,” commented Frank Scafidi, a Sacramento-based spokesman for the NICB. “There are more people and vehicles here than any place in the country. With a population that’s as big as what we have here, you get lots of good people and a lot of knuckleheads.”

Since 2003, vehicle thefts have gone down each year save one on a nationwide level, with the official forecasting the trend will continue into 2015. That’s a consequence of the newer technologies used by automakers and law enforcement to protect and track the autos, massively contributing to the continuous reduction in theft cases. The NICB, headquartered in Des Plaines, Illinois, is a not-for-profit organization that actively works with insurers and looks to prevent and combat insurance fraud and other crimes. The vehicle theft reports are compiled from data obtained from the law enforcement agencies and the US Census.

Via Bloomberg