Columbus ranks 22 in nation for auto thefts

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | e-mail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The numbers don't lie. In 2008 there were nearly 1,600 auto thefts in the Columbus area. That number put the city in the top 25 cities in the country for stolen cars. As a whole, auto thefts in Columbus have been on a downward trend for the past three years, but that hasn't prevented the area from making the top of the list.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau ranked Columbus in the top 25 in the nation for auto thefts. We checked those numbers with Columbus police and surprisingly, they're close.

Frank Scafidi is the Director of Public Affairs at NICB. He told News Leader Nine, "We work a formula against the population and come up with a rate with a number of cars stolen per 100,000 of the population. That rate is a decimal point and it determines where the MSA lands."

The Metropolitan Statistical Area, or MSA, is made up of Muscogee, Marion, Chattahoochee, Harris and Russell Counties. The statistics also show the most frequently stolen cars in Georgia including: the 1996 Honda Accord, 1994 Chevy pick-up, 1997 F-150, the 1989 Chevy Caprice and the 2000 Honda Civic.

"They sell a lot of them in the first place all over the country and they last a long time," said Scafidi. He also added if your car is on this list, it doesn't necessarily mean it will be stolen, "The first thing is not to panic. If you drive a car that's the most stolen it depends more on you as an individual and your behavior."

You can prevent your car from being stolen by investing in a security or immobilizing device. If it is stolen, having a tracking device like Onstar will help get it back sooner. Scafidi advised, "If you do go shopping lock the car, roll the windows up and take the keys."

The best way to prevent your car from getting stolen is to be smart and be safe.