Safety >> Crime >> Property Crime >> Motor Vehicle Theft Trends by Region

Unlike property crime overall, motor vehicle thefts increased in all regions until 2005, when they dropped precipitously in response to a new law-enforcement initiative. 

Crime diminishes the health of our communities through fear, erosion of community cohesion, diversion of public resources, property damage, injury, incarceration, and death.

In 2011, the rate of motor vehicle theft in King County was 473 per 100,000 population, down from a high of 1,198 per 100,000 in 2005. 

  • From 1997 to 2005, motor vehicle theft, unlike other components of the property crime rate, increased in all city regions, unincorporated areas, and King County.
  • Since 2005, rates in all regions have plunged, in some cases by more than half, although rates appear to be rebounding since 2009 in South Region cities and the County as a whole.   
  • The spectacular reduction in motor vehicle theft is believed to be a result of the King County Prosecutor’s 2005 Car Theft Initiative (CTI), a partnership between law enforcement agencies and the Prosecutor’s Office that concentrates on identifying, arresting, and sentencing serial car thieves.
  • Per capita crime rates and trends for King County cities and Seattle are available at Social Capital Review. Please see 3 "Crime Rates" links below.