Oklahoma City is now among the top 20 American cities in terms of automobile theft rates, according to a recent national survey.
Oklahoma City is 17th on the list, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau's Hot Spots 2011 report. Tulsa is 34th on the list.
In 2011, 5,246 thefts were reported in the Oklahoma City metro area. In 2009, there were 5,131 thefts; that number dropped in 2010 to 4,951, according to the bureau. Oklahoma City police worked 3,262 cases of auto theft in 2011, and 2,277 of those vehicles were recovered. In 2010, 2,902 vehicles were stolen and 2,350 were covered. As of June 25, 1,935 vehicles have been reported stolen in Oklahoma City and the number recovered was 1,161 by the same date, Oklahoma City police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said.
The most popular vehicles stolen in Oklahoma City are Honda Accords and Honda Civics, police said, followed closely by Chevy 1500 and F150 pickups.
There are no “hot spots” in Oklahoma City for automobile theft, Wardlow said, but more cars are stolen in the Santa Fe division, which stretches across the southern part of the city. The Hefner division in northwestern Oklahoma City has the second highest number of stolen cars, police said.
The methods employed by thieves vary, from punching through the columns and stripping the ignition to simply using keys left inside vehicles or gaining access through open car windows.