By Caleb Hutton
Bellingham had the tenth-highest vehicle theft rate in the state last year, according to data released this week by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Here’s the vehicle theft rate for metro areas in Washington, per 100,000 residents.
1. Spokane: 551.8
2. Yakima: 529.3
3. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue: 445.83
4. Longview: 295.7
5. Mount Vernon-Anacortes: 231.1
6. Bremerton-Silverdale: 228.2
7. Kennewick-Pasco-Richland: 185.9
8. Olympia: 171.5
9. Wenatchee-East Wenatchee: 129.8
10. Bellingham: 119.3
Sources: National Insurance Crime Bureau and U.S. Census data.
Spokane had the fourth-highest theft rate in the nation.
The average stolen vehicle was worth about $6,500, according to the latest available data.
In a press release, the NCIB gave the following advice to avoid vehicle thefts:
1) Common Sense
- Remove your keys from the ignition.
- Lock your doors /close your windows.
- Park in a well-lit area.
- Keep valuable items such as bags, purses, cell phones and briefcases out of sight.
2) A Warning Device
Popular devices include:
- Audible alarms.
- Steering column collars.
- Steering wheel/brake pedal lock.
- Brake locks.
- Wheel locks.
- Theft deterrent decals.
- Identification markers in or on vehicle.
- VIN etching.
- Micro dot marking.
3) An Immobilizing Device
Use a device that prevents thieves from bypassing your ignition and hot-wiring the vehicle. Some examples are:
- Smart keys.
- Fuse cut-offs.
- Kill switches.
- Starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers.
- Wireless ignition authentication.
You can also report vehicle thefts, anonymously and toll free, by calling 1-800-TEL-NICB. But it’s best to call 911 first.