*While our crime statistics in this category have been steadily down in recent years...
In 2010, 615 vehicles were stolen throughout the City of Berkeley. Thus far in 2011, from January to June, 314 vehicles have already been stolen. In the last 5 years our UCR statistics for auto theft areas follows:
2010 (noted above)
If you are a community member that has had his/her car stolen, you know best how frustrating, surprising, emotional and infuriating it can be. We base this list on the range of emotion that BPD officers experience from victims when their car is not where they parked it and discover it has been stolen. Gone really are the days and TV/movie depictions of suspects hot wiring cars. Certain types of cars are very easy to steal such as Toyotas, Saturns, Hondas, Acuras and when members of BPD and our detectives colleagues from other agencies have interviewed suspects, they often share their methods. They say they become very adept at the crime and can steal a car or truck or other vehicle within seconds sometimes.
Unlike southern California and other parts of the country, suspects who steal cars in Berkeley primarily steal cars for transportation, to joyride, use the gas, smoke and use drugs in it and/or use it to commit another crime. Once the tank of gas is empty or another crime is committed, the suspect or suspects will “dump” the car somewhere - either a neighboring community or within the City of Berkeley. We find few instances of chop shops or cars stripped for parts here, although it happens periodically, especially the fancier, more expensive rims.
*The best method to protect your car from being stolen in Berkeley?
“The best proven deterrent nationally and internationally is a steering wheel locking device. (aka The Club or like device) It is an inexpensive crime prevention tool and IT WORKS. Auto thieves, like other individuals who commit crime, are opportunistic and prefer to go unseen/undetected. If they see a line of cars, they bypass the ones with the steering wheel locks to capitalize on the easy ones to steal.
BPD recovers (that includes other agencies that find vehicles stolen from Berkeley) over 80% of all vehicles stolen. That percentage only increases as we find more and more of them all the time. There are a number of BPD officers that love looking and are very successful in finding stolen vehicles, both unoccupied and parked or occupied. Each vehicle License plate, VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), make, model year and registered owner information is entered into what is called SVS - Stolen Vehicle System and NCIC - National Crime Information Center. This is a searchable database.
Please avoid the inconvenience and disappointment - Buy a steering wheel locking device.
Please go to next Crime Challenge and how we can make a difference