Despite falling crime rates in California, most people still think thefts have been on the rise for the past ten years. According to numbers from the Department of Justice, Car thefts in California have fallen 35% since 2003.
A recent survey by Shift Insurance has found that 3 in 4 Californians believe it has either stayed the same or increased.
When asked “Do you think the number of car thefts in California have increased or decreased over the last 10 years” 29% answered that they believed the number of vehicle thefts had remained the same, 16.5% that it had slightly increased and 29% that it had substantially increased. Only 10.9% believed it to have slightly decreased and 14% to have substantially decreased.
Perhaps unsurprisingly both age and gender were found to influence respondent’s perceptions of vehicle theft. Women were more likely to answer that vehicle thefts had increased than their male counterparts.
Older respondents were also more likely to believe car theft rates had increased.
Location also played a part, with perceptions and actual theft data varying greatly between counties.
Some of the counties with the greatest discrepancy between perceived and actual car thefts include:
- Tuolumne – 69% Actual Reduction Vs 66% Perceived increase
- Yuba – 54% Actual Reduction Vs 66% Perceived Increase
- Butte – 53% Actual Reduction Vs 48% Perceived Increase
- Mono – 85% Actual Reduction Vs 33% Perceived Increase
- Marin – 40% Actual Reduction Vs 58% Perceived Increase
It’s hard to pin point why people might believe car thefts have increased since 2003, though it likely comes down to the fact that despite these improvements, California still tops the list of places in America where you’re most likely to get your car stolen (source).
Other likely causes include recent coverage of the Prison Realignment program, though some have argued this bares no relation to changes in crime (source).
Download the survey data for yourself.
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