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For the fifth consecutive year, data collected by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) points to a steady decline in U.S. auto theft. NICB’s latest “Hot Spots” report examines vehicle theft information obtained from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) for each of the nation’s metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in 2008.

Although most areas experienced a reduction, auto theft continues to plague the western part of the United States. The states bordering Mexico show mixed results, with California still leading the pack in terms of total number of thefts. In fact, NICB ranked Modesto, Cali. as the MSA with the highest theft rate in 2008, and five other MSAs in the Golden State made the same infamous “top 10″ list. Bakersfield, Calif., formerly rated 15th in 2007, jumped to the fifth slot.

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