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California gets dubious car honor — most stolen vehicles

California has it charms — beaches to quaint cities to redwood tree forests. But it also has the dubious honor — the most car thefts of any state in the country.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released its annual list of cities with the most car thefts, and Fresno, Calif., tops the list. In fact, eight cities in the top 10 are in California, with the remaining two in Washington state.

Following Fresno on the list are Modesto and Bakersfield with Sacramento Stockton and the area including San Francisco, Oakland, and Fremont also on the list.

Spokane, Wash., was No. 4 among on the top-theft list, while Los Angeles surprisingly was No. 23.

The NICB calculated rates of car theft per capita to come up with the list. The bureau relied on statistical areas as defined by the U.S. Census, which combines some cities into larger areas. The entire list of 366 cities and statistical areas can be read on the NICB site.

Driving a Cadillac Escalade into Fresno would certainly be asking for trouble, as that model topped the list of most stolen cars in the U.S., according to a report by the Highway Loss Data Institute.

Here are the top 10 cities for car theft in 2010:

Fresno, Calif., Modesto, Calif., Bakersfield-Delano, Calif., Spokane, Wash., Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., Sacramento/Arden-Arcade/Roseville, Calif., Stockton, Calif., Visalia-Porterville, Calif., San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif., Yakima, Wash.

The city with the least car thefts was State College, Penn.

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