Anyone in Gilbert with a Honda Accord, a Honda Civic or even a Dodge Ram might want to take extra measures to secure their vehicles, Gilbert police say.
Those were the top three vehicles stolen this year as of August in the growing town known for its low crime rate.
Gilbert is among a group of Valley cities ranked fourth in the nation for the worst per capita vehicle theft rate last year, according to a national crime bureau.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau compiled a 2006 Hot Spot list for vehicle theft listing the Las Vegas area at the top and the Phoenix metropolitan area fourth.
Frank Scafidi, spokesman for the not-for-profit organization, said the metro area in the report includes cities in Maricopa and Pinal counties.
The Valley is high on the list because of its proximity to Mexico, where vehicles are often driven after they are stolen, Scafidi said.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau also compiled and recently released lists of most stolen vehicles for 2006 and placed 1995 Honda Civics at the top nationwide and 1992 Honda Accords at the top in Arizona.
This jibes with Gilbert numbers that placed the Honda Accord at the top of the Gilbert Police Department’s list last year and so far this year.
Scafidi said vehicles such as Hondas top the list for most stolen because here are so many of them on the streets. Thieves take them for replacement parts.
In 2006, there were 470 stolen vehicles in Gilbert — 28 of those were Hondas. The year before there were 423 stolen vehicles with 21 Hondas taken from their owners.
The Gilbert Police Department, along with many Arizona agencies, is working to overcome vehicle theft, said Gilbert police spokesman Sgt. Mark Marino.
For several years, Gilbert police have operated a bait car program in an effort to entice thieves to steal vehicles that police can track and catch.
To prevent vehicle theft, owners should take precautions. Marino said.
Drivers should park in a garage, he said.
When parked on the street or at a parking lot, don’t leave valuables such as electronics or cash sitting on the dashboard or seats, and use a club-type device on the steering wheel or a car alarm, he added.
“Anything you can do to put the person on to another car is a benefit to yourself,” Marino said.
Top stolen vehicles
Top five vehicles stolen in Gilbert in 2007*
1. Honda Accord
2. Honda Civic
3. Dodge Ram
4. Dodge Intrepid
5. Chevrolet Silverado
Top five vehicles stolen in Gilbert in 2006
1. Honda Accord
2. Dodge Ram
3. Ford F-250 pickup truck
4. Chevrolet Silverado
5. Dodge Caravan
*2007 data through August of this year. Years of vehicles not available.
Top Gilbert locations for stolen vehicles in 2006
1. 3225 E. Baseline Road
2. 4101 E. Baseline Road
2. 2200 W. San Angelo
2. 2350 W. Obispo Ave.
5. 275 W. Juniper Ave.
5. 1300 W. Warner Road
5. 130 W. Guadalupe Road
5. 1225 N. Arizona Ave.
There was a three-way tie for second and a four-way tie for fifth.
Source: Gilbert Police Department