A new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) shows that overall vehicle thefts are down for the eighth consecutive year, but the list of the top 10 cities with the most stolen cars in 2011 should be enough to capture attention.

Once again, California leads the nation with seven of 10 so-called “hot spots,” metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) with the highest rates of theft. Two are in Washington state and one is in South Carolina. Note that MSAs cover areas beyond just the cities the names appear to indicate. But, for simplification, they are referred to here as the top 10 cities with the most stolen cars.

One point that’s worth making is that the first four on the list have the same ranking as 2010.

1. Fresno, Calif. – Car thefts in Fresno totaled 7,621 last year, compared with 7,559 the year before.

2. Modesto, Calif. – With a total vehicle theft of 3,315 in 2011, the numbers are down a bit from 2010 when 3,878 thefts were reported in the Modesto MSA.

3. Bakersfield-Delano, Calif. – The area reported 5,240 vehicle thefts last year, compared with 5,623 in 2010.

4. Spokane, Wash. – Although vehicle thefts in Spokane declined a bit in 2011 with 2,614 reported, compared with 2,763 in 2010, it’s not enough to budge the MSA from fourth place on the vehicle hot spots list.

5. Yakima, Wash. – Number 10 on last year’s list, Yakima moves up five spaces. That’s due to the 1,308 vehicle thefts in 2011, versus 1,266 in 2010.

6. San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, Calif. – In ninth place on the 2010 list, San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont bumped up three spots for 2011 with 23,223 vehicle thefts reported. In 2010, the tally was 22,617.

7. Stockton, Calif. – Another MSA that’s remained in the same position as the previous year, although the numbers of thefts have dropped slightly. In 2011, a total of 3,532 vehicles were stolen, compared with 3,779 the year before).

8. Anderson, South Carolina – If this MSA sounds new to the top 10 cities with the most stolen cars, it is. Shooting up from 33rd place in 2010, when Anderson had 696 vehicle thefts, the MSA reported 911 stolen vehicles last year.

9. Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif. – The MSA of Vallejo-Fairfield improved four spots since 2010, reporting 2,002 vehicle thefts in 2011, compared with 2,392 the year before.

10. Visalia-Porterville, Calif. – Last on the top 10 list of hot spots, Visalia-Porterville actually improved two positions from eighth spot in 2010. The total number of reported vehicle thefts in the MSA for 2011 was 2,124, compared with 2,409 in 2010.

Are you curious to know where your city appears in the overall ranking of car thefts by city or state? The full NICB 2011 Hot Spots report is available www.nicb.org. Also worthwhile checking out is a video showing how Laredo, Texas went from number one on the 2009 list of hot spots to number 53 in 2011.

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