Car thefts in Bellevue dropped 6 percent in 2007, continuing a trend that began after the Bellevue Police formed a special task force dedicated to stopping auto thieves in 2003. Since 2004, the rate has plummeted by 27 percent.
According to annual Police statistics compiled and submitted to the FBI this month, there were 30 less auto thefts in Bellevue last year than there were in 2006 -- 446 v. 476. Other property crimes -- burglary, theft, arson and car theft -- also decreased in 2007.
Violent crimes, including murder, rape, robbery and assault, also dropped, but their rates have historically been low in Bellevue.
"Deterring car thefts is an important achievement that impacts many residents," Police Chief Linda Pillo said. "The decline in violent crime and significant property crime for two years in a row, while the city continues to grow, is something to truly celebrate."
While many factors contribute to Bellevue's low crime rate, residents have been active partners in the fight against crime, promptly reporting suspicious activity, volunteering for the police and attending the department's Community Academy.
Auto thefts began to decline in Bellevue after the department formed the "Special Enforcement Team," a group of property and auto crimes detectives focused on car theft. With a few simple actions, residents themselves can help prevent theft of their cars:
- Never leave anything in your car you don't want stolen. Prowlers will look under seats and in glove compartments.
- Lock your doors.
- If you own one of the commonly-stolen models of cars, consider using an anti-theft device such as the Club.
- If your vehicle has a keypad entry system, do not leave spare keys inside the car.
- All car owners should check their owner's manual for a "valet key" that thieves can use. Such keys are common in some high-end cars.
|According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the 10 vehicles most frequently reported stolen in Washington in 2006 were:
- 1991 Honda Accord
- 1995 Honda Civic
- 1990 Toyota Camry
- 1994 Acura Integra
- 1994 Saturn SL
- 1985 Toyota Pickup
- 1994 Nissan Sentra
- 1994 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
- 1993 Dodge Caravan
- 1989 Honda Prelude
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