Angry LA resident decries rampant car theft as major paper offers tips to avoid robberies: ‘Sick of this’

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A frustrated Los Angeles, California resident admitted that she is “sick” of rampant car theft in the area while the city’s major newspaper is offering tips on how to avoid getting their vehicle stolen.

31-year-old Anna Scanlon revealed to the Los Angeles Times that she had just moved into an apartment in Echo Park when she noticed her 2000 Honda CR-V missing. The vehicle, which had no alarm system, was a “theft magnet,” she admitted.

The car was found two days later by police in South Los Angeles. The interior was filled with empty alcohol cans. After spending $2,000 in repairs, Scanlon’s vehicle was once again stolen. When the car was recovered, parts were stripped off and a mattress was found inside.

“It looks like there might’ve been people living in it,” she said. “After the second time, I was like… I’m sick of this … [B.S.] and I’m buying a new car,” Scanlon said.

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Vehicle theft has quadrupled in downtown Los Angeles over the last decade. ((Photo By Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images))

She is now the owner of a 2011 BMW that comes equipped with an alarm system and steering wheel lock.

“If this car gets stolen, I’ll probably just take the Metro,” she said.

In a Tuesday piece titled “Don’t want your car stolen? Here’s where to avoid parking in Los Angeles,” the paper offered readers tips and expert advice to avoid becoming a victim of vehicle theft.

The Los Angeles Police Department’s 77th Street Division has recorded the most vehicle thefts in the past ten years, followed closely by the Newton Division and the Southeast Division. The data suggests that South Los Angeles is a car theft hot spot.

“Where you’ll see a heavy gang activity and violent crime, it’s not surprising to see cars stolen and often the cars are stolen because they are used in other crimes,” former LAPD crime analysis division commanding officer Paul Vernon said.

A Times analysis of vehicle theft in the city from 2013 to 2023 revealed that car theft around downtown Los Angeles has quadrupled over the past decade. Unsurprisingly, car theft is also most prevalent in areas of the city with a higher crime rate.

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California car brake in sign

A sign shows California residents how to prevent car break-ins.  ((Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images))

Central division, which includes downtown Los Angeles, Chinatown and Little Tokyo, reported a 300% increase in vehicle theft between 2013 and 2023. Most of these crimes come from the 54-block area known as Skid Row.

“The high number of crimes there in Central are really a measure of how bad Skid Row has gotten and how much its expanded or its influence has expanded,” Vernon continued.

When it comes to car brands, residents in Los Angeles are most likely to become the victim of vehicle theft if they ride around in a Kia or Hyundai. Last year, 20% of all stolen vehicles In the city were Kia or Hyundai, up 13% from 2021.

In just the South Bureau, Kia and Hyundai vehicle thefts are up 57% and 21%, respectively, year-over-year.

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The LAPD noted that viral TikTok videos showing how to start a Hyundai or Kia by using a USB cord may have contributed to the uptick. Since then, the police have partnered with both automobile companies in an anti-theft initiative that provides owners with a free security software update.

California Highway Patrol Officer Christian Baldonado urged residents to be cautious around the holiday season as they add valuable presents to their cars.  

“If you have a vehicle and a bunch of gifts in the front seat, that’s easy prey,” he said. “And a lot of times with these smash-and-grabs, people just don’t care anymore. They’ll just bash windows in broad daylight.”

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