Ought you park your car in Santa Maria?
November 14, 2014
An average day in Santa Maria ends with at least two car thefts, according to numbers provided by the city’s police department. [KSBY]
Santa Maria far outpaces other Central Coast cities in car thefts, and the crime is occurring at an increasing rate. Last year, more auto thefts occurred in Santa Maria than in all other Central Coast cities combined, ranging from Santa Barbara to Paso Robles.
Thieves stole a total of 730 vehicles in the Northern Santa Barbara County city in 2013, and they have swiped even more in the first eight months of 2014. Santa Maria’s car theft total in 2011 was just 264.
Santa Barbara police documented the second highest amount of car thefts in the area last year, but that figure only reached 128. The city of San Luis Obispo led its county with 63 carjackings in 2013.
“We do have a lot of vehicles stolen,” said Santa Maria Police Officer Alex George. However, we do have most of them recovered.”
George has gained notoriety for his ability to locate stolen vehicles. Since he began keeping track of the statistics in 2006, George has recovered more than 550 stolen vehicles. He found 100 in one year alone.
Older Honda Civics and Accords are the most popular targets for Santa Maria thieves, George said. Most of the vehicles stolen are taken at night from city streets.