BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – More than 800,000 vehicles were stolen in the US last year alone, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. According to California Highway Patrol, Bakersfield has some of the highest car theft rates in the nation, outperforming any other city in the county in 2019. Police say those numbers will only rise this year. Nichole Hobson of Bakersfield watched a thief drive away in her boyfriend’s pickup truck just after 6 a.m. on March 7th. She says it was faster than changing the oil.
“One person drove a red truck down our street, got out of the vehicle and went to my friend’s truck,” Hobson said. “And it was like he had a key. He opened the door with no problem. He picks up and is gone for three to five minutes. “
Police say they found the red truck the thief left behind and which was also stolen.
Law enforcement has not released any information about the car thief or Hobson’s vehicle.
The theft pierced Hobson’s paperback while police fought to solve the crime.
“We called at what … 6:37 in the morning? They didn’t show up until 11:30 am, ”Hobson said. “Now we have to buy a truck, we still have to pay for a car. This truck was paid for. If they find the truck, we will be responsible for all fees behind it. “
Experts say Hobson is not alone.
“100 to 120 vehicles will be stolen in Bakersfield City in about a week,” said Sgt. Robert Pair, Bakersfield Police Department information officer.
Police say most car thefts are crime of opportunity, so vigilance can protect your vehicle.
“Things like steering lock controllers, alarm systems, parking in a garage, parking in well-lit and well-traveled areas,” said Sgt. Paar. “They may not be a guarantee of theft prevention, but they can minimize the opportunities thieves are looking for.”
Police say they are still trying to recover Hobson’s stolen vehicle and no arrests have been made in this case. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that vehicle owners ensure that they never leave their keys in the ignition and that they keep valuables outside of their vehicle. Locking doors and windows can further protect your car. Thieves often target Honda Civics, Honda Accords, and Chevy Silverados, according to NHTSA. For more safety tips and information on car theft, visit the NHTSA website.