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How safe is your car in Baltimore?

Automotive IndustryHonda Motor Co.

If you're worried about auto theft, parking in the Cedarcroft neighborhood in February might be the safest spot in the entire city -- but be wary if you need to park in the Frankford neighborhood in July.

In any large city, auto theft is a persistent problem, and in Baltimore, nearly 4,000 vehicles are stolen each year. According to the recovery systems producer LoJack, Maryland ranks 7th in the nation in vehicle thefts, and certain trends become more apparent in the city's crime data.


Photo gallery: Neighborhoods with highest numbers of thefts
The top five neighborhoods for auto thefts cover a wide swath of the city, from Frankford in the northeast to Brooklyn in the south to Sandtown-Winchester in the west. Each had at least 300 thefts over the past five years. (One cautionary note: The neighborhoods have uneven sizes and populations, so comparisons are imprecise.) For overall crime for the city, these neighborhoods are in the upper range, but they do not also in the top five. In fact, Patterson Park ranked16th for total crime, but fifth in auto theft.




NeighborhoodAuto Thefts
Frankford603
Belair-Edison516
Brooklyn339
Sandtown-Winchester335
Patterson Park Neighborhood302
Canton301
Hamilton Hills285
Coldstream Homestead Montebello270
Cherry Hill264
Washington Village/Pigtown234
Reservoir Hill232
Hampden230
Downtown222
Mondawmin214
Howard Park204
Glen199
Harlem Park198
Loch Raven195
Penrose/Fayette Street Outreach194
Waltherson194
Curtis Bay193
Central Park Heights188
Glenham-Belhar185
Morrell Park180
Upton179
McElderry Park176
Lakeland174
Fells Point172
Ednor Gardens-Lakeside157
Carrollton Ridge155
Allendale153
Coppin Heights/Ash-Co-East152
Irvington149
Reisterstown Station148
Rosemont146
Ellwood Park/Monument145
Franklin Square145
Edmondson Village144
Berea142
Walbrook142
Woodmere142
Bolton Hill138
East Baltimore Midway136
Oliver136
Broadway East134
New Northwood134
Charles Village133
Mount Vernon133
Beechfield127
Highlandtown125
Poppleton122
Hollins Market119
Yale Heights118
Bridgeview/Greenlawn115
Parkside113
Better Waverly112
Pulaski Industrial Area112
South Baltimore111
Park Circle110
Glen Oaks109
Mid-Town Belvedere109
Riverside109
Upper Fells Point109
Perring Loch108
Hanlon-Longwood106
Hillen104
Baltimore Highlands103
Cedonia103
North Harford Road103
Remington103
Charles North101
Madison Park101
Armistead Gardens98
Barclay98
Ashburton97
Easterwood96
Westfield96
Greektown95
Millhill95
New Southwest/Mount Clare95
Dolfield94
Lauraville92
West Forest Park92
Midtown-Edmondson91
Parkview/Woodbrook90
West Arlington90
Penn North89
Shipley Hill89
Waverly89
Butcher's Hill87
Cedmont87
Madison-Eastend85
Oldtown85
Panway/Braddish Avenue83
Saint Josephs83
West Hills83
Federal Hill82
Cylburn81
Johnston Square81
Dorchester80
East Arlington80
Mosher80
Liberty Square79
Pen Lucy79
Druid Heights78
Seton Hill78
Washington Hill78
Westport78
Violetville76
Fallstaff75
Union Square74
Greenspring73
Northwest Community Action73
Arlington72
Gay Street72
Cheswolde70
Idlewood70
Mount Washington70
Rosemont Homeowners/Tenants70
Woodbourne Heights70
Wakefield68
Callaway-Garrison66
Bayview65
Rognel Heights65
Franklintown Road64
Parklane64
Rosemont East64
Jonestown63
Evergreen Lawn62
Westgate62
Grove Park60
Windsor Hills60
Edgewood59
Graceland Park59
Milton-Montford58
Winchester57
Carroll - Camden Industrial Area56
Medford56
CARE55
Abell54
Forest Park54
Roland Park54
Garwyn Oaks53
Harwood52
Middle East52
South Clifton Park52
Cross Country51
Fairfield Area51
Langston Hughes51
Ramblewood51
Lake Walker50
Biddle Street49
Mount Holly49
Concerned Citizens Of Forest Park48
Greenmount West48
Inner Harbor48
Burleith-Leighton47
Broening Manor46
Woodberry46
Gwynns Falls45
Medfield45
Pimlico Good Neighbors45
Ridgely's Delight45
Levindale44
Dunbar-Broadway43
Little Italy42
Winston-Govans42
Hunting Ridge41
Ten Hills41
Orangeville40
Canton Industrial Area39
Central Forest Park39
Clifton Park39
Mid-Govans39
Patterson Place39
Towanda-Grantley39
Brewers Hill38
Four By Four38
Homeland38
Sharp-Leadenhall38
Stonewood-Pentwood-Winston38
Darley Park37
Old Goucher37
Lucille Park36
Boyd-Booth35
Perkins Homes34
Kresson33
Uplands33
Cameron Village32
Heritage Crossing32
Original Northwood32
University Of Maryland32
Franklintown31
Chinquapin Park30
Mount Winans30
Wilhelm Park30
Pleasant View Gardens29
Guilford27
Downtown West26
Kenilworth Park26
Carroll-South Hilton25
Evesham Park25
Penn-Fallsway25
Tremont25
Tuscany-Canterbury25
Arcadia24
Coldspring24
Hoes Heights24
Locust Point24
Oaklee24
Patterson Park24
Moravia-Walther23
Orangeville Industrial Area23
Otterbein23
Purnell23
Wilson Park23
Oakenshawe22
Orchard Ridge22
Hopkins Bayview21
Belair-Parkside20
O'Donnell Heights20
Overlea20
Druid Hill Park19
Saint Agnes19
Woodbourne-McCabe19
Barre Circle18
Lake Evesham18
Lower Edmondson Village18
Mayfield18
Middle Branch/Reedbird Parks18
North Roland Park/Poplar Hill18
Beverly Hills17
Hawkins Point17
Wrenlane16
Belvedere15
Jones Falls Area15
Morgan State University15
Seton Business Park15
Wyman Park14
Radnor-Winston13
Richnor Springs13
Rosebank13
Carroll Park12
Forest Park Golf Course12
Holabird Industrial Park12
Saint Helena12
Eastwood11
Fairmont11
Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park11
Cross Keys9
Locust Point Industrial Area9
Loyola/Notre Dame9
Kernewood8
Keswick8
Morgan Park8
Spring Garden Industrial Area8
Wyndhurst8
Saint Paul7
Dickeyville6
Sabina-Mattfeldt6
Taylor Heights6
Evergreen5
Stadium Area5
Curtis Bay Industrial Area4
Herring Run Park4
Montebello4
Port Covington4
Bellona-Gittings3
Blythewood2
Johns Hopkins Homewood2
Cedarcroft1
Dundalk Marine Terminal1
Lower Herring Run Park1
The Orchards1
Villages Of Homeland1
York-Homeland7
ZZ - No neighborhood listed209
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Created using: DataTables and LibreOffice

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the majority of thieves target cars either for the total value of the car or to strip the car of parts.

"One of the things that makes California a hot spot for auto thefts is the supply of cars and the proximity to ports," said Carol Kaplan, the director of public affairs for the NICB.

She said some stolen cars, in particular newer, more expensive ones, are sent via cargo containers to other countries, where they are then resold. East Coast ports are not immune. In 2003, for example, Baltimore-area authorities recovered two shipments of stolen luxury cars and sport utility vehicles from an international ring that was operating through the city's port.

For several years, the Honda Accord has held the top spot for number of thefts, and it is one of the most common cars in America. Iin fact, the top three most stolen cars and most common used cars are the same: Honda Accord, Honda Civic and Ford F-150.

"In most cases, they're being used by someone who needs a car or they are stripped of parts," Kaplan said.

That's why these three models top both lists; the demand for parts and the supply of cars needing parts means that parts for those models are stolen more than others.

For example, an older model needs more maintenance as time passes, but the manufacture of certain parts might have ended. Thus, compatible parts are stolen to meet the demand. Likewise, the legitimate supply of parts might not meet overall demand, creating a market for stolen goods.

Kaplan suggests that an increase of newer cars can lead to a decrease in auto theft, because theft prevention systems tend to improve over time. Additionally, she says a stable economy cans keep crime low overall, and more efficient law enforcement tactics can be used to catch thieves.

Baltimore police say city drivers have a tendency to leave cars running outside convenience stores, especially in winter. Some also double park and leave their car engines on while they run into rowhouses on streets where there is no available parking. That's a common problem nationally, as well.

Police say that nearly 19 percent of vehicles stolen this year in Baltimore had keys inside. That's 358 of the 1,933 vehicles reported stolen. But that rose to 50 percent in some areas of the city last winter.

Over the years

In Baltimore, the highest number of thefts happen in July and August, which mirrors national statistics. July, the top month for auto thefts nationwide, is also national vehicle theft protection month.

As a trend, auto thefts in the city drop leading into December and plummet to their lowest in February.

Baltimore matches the national trend, with two exceptions along the rise to and fall from the peak in July. The national trend is a smooth rise and fall, however, in Baltimore, the trend spikes in March and October.

NCICDaily

February is the lowest in thefts for Baltimore and the nation, but, this could be partially due to the length of the month. Even during a leap year, such as 2012, February is still the shortest month of the year. However, unless the extra days contain a significant number of thefts, extra days would only serve to decrease the month's average.

Related links: City auto theft data on Open Baltimore
Many vehicles stolen in Baltimore are left running, police say

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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