According to the California Highway Patrol, CHP, there were 9,501 vehicles stolen in Orange County last year. Even though that is a 13 % drop from year 2006, we still lie in a dangerous area for carjacking and car theft. The National Insurance Crime Bureau list California as the leading state for car thefts.
Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is a cluster of cities located in a geographical area. Orange County is included in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana MSA and we have more car thefts than any other MSA in the country. Second are the San Francisco-Oakland MSA and other California cities rank in the top 20. We live in a dangerous theft area and some thieves are so bold that they take your car while you’re still inside- carjacking!
Just a couple of weeks ago, there was another carjacking in the city of Costa Mesa. A young woman who is an employee of the Old Navy store near Bristol was ambushed while going to work. Her Honda Civic was stolen and later was involved in an automobile accident.
Honda Civic? Not exactly the “hot car” you would think car thieves would be after, but actually the 1995 Honda Civic is the most stolen car in all of the United States. Here in California, the most stolen cars are, in order of top rankings: Honda Accord, Civic, Toyota Camry, Acura Integra, Nissan Sentra, Toyota corolla/ pickup and Ford and Chevy’s pick-ups.
Carjacking usually take place in industrialized areas within 5 miles of the person’s home. Shopping centers, gas stations, car washes, convenience stores, ATM machines are among the many spots that thief’s stake out their victims. 92% of all carjacking involve some type of weapon and around one third of all victims experience some type of personal injury.
One popular carjacking scenario is bumping your car from behind. As you pull off to the side to exchange information, another accomplice, usually a “good Samaritan” steals your automobile. Carjackers almost always work in pairs so beware. Another typical ploy is at a stoplight or signal, they will jump out of another vehicle and enter your car on the passenger side or remove you from the driver’s side. This all takes place quickly so being alert is vital.
The best way to avoid being a victim is of course to stay focused on your surroundings. Keep your doors locked and if you go shopping at night, park under well lighted areas. Don’t park between two cars that are larger than yours as this is an easy way robber’s steal without being seen. Lastly, don’t try to struggle with them. They are pumped up on adrenaline and ready to steal your car.