Thursday, August 22, 2019

Vehicle Thefts in Humboldt Declined Last Year

Posted By on Thu, Aug 22, 2019 at 2:07 PM

Fewer vehicles were stolen in 2018 than the previous year, according to statistics released  by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, with Eureka leading local cities in the highest number of incidents.
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There were a total of 569 vehicles reported to county’s law enforcement agencies as stolen last year compared to 721 in 2017, according to the release on information from earlier this year. Of those, 64 were in Arcata, 253 occurred in California Highway Patrol or HCSO jurisdiction, 203 were in Eureka, 0 in Ferndale, 34 in Fortuna and 14 in Rio Dell.

The release notes that “a significant number” were taken using the vehicle’s key, often after being left running unattended or with a spare left in the car.

The HCSO also states that “pre-1999 Honda and Toyota passenger cars, along with Toyota trucks, are being stolen with a similar worn key due to their worn ignition switches.”

Among the latest trends is stealing vehicles via residential burglaries, with thieves entering homes and taking keys that are hanging on racks or lying on tables near the entryway, the HCSO reports.

“Approximately 80 percent of vehicles stolen out of Humboldt County are recovered, however they are usually stripped of anything valuable,” the release states. “Garage door openers are also stolen at the same time making victims more susceptible to future home burglaries.”

Read the full release and a series of tips from the HCSO below:


Humboldt County saw a decline in the number of stolen vehicles reported in 2018. In 2017, there were 721 reported stolen vehicles in Humboldt County. In 2018, there were 569.

A significant number of vehicles stolen out of Humboldt County are taken with their very own ignition key. This is often the result of unsuspecting victims leaving their vehicles running while unattended or leaving a spare key with the vehicle.

Pre-1999 Honda and Toyota passenger cars, along with Toyota trucks, are being stolen with a similar worn key due to their worn ignition switches. A small percentage of vehicles stolen are due to the steering column being broken to the point where the ignition can be started. Approximately 80 percent of vehicles stolen out of Humboldt County are recovered, however they are usually stripped of anything valuable. Garage door openers are also stolen at the same time making victims more susceptible to future home burglaries.

Protect yourself from becoming the victim of vehicle theft by following these easy tips:

If you own a pre-1999 Honda or Toyota or find your ignition switches worn and loose on any vehicle, consider replacing the old ignition switch.

Always remove all property of perceived value from the interior of your vehicle that can be seen from the outside – this includes change in the console.

Remove hidden keys from your vehicle.

Consider adding a motion light in the area where the vehicle is parked at your residence or work place if you work after dark.

Never leave your car running with the keys inside, even if it is to heat up your vehicle on a cold day.

Always lock your vehicle doors, even in your driveway, and take your keys with you.

Another trend of auto theft is through residential burglaries. Most of us walk in to our home and hang the key on a rack exposed to those who want to take our vehicles. Change the location where you store your keys and keep them out of sight. The more cautious you become, the less likely you are to become a victim.
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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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