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CHP: Vehicle thefts on the rise in unincorporated areas of Humboldt County

HUMBOLDT COUNTY- Local authorities are reporting a spike in vehicle thefts in the unincorporated areas of Humboldt County.

According to the California Highway Patrol, four cars were reported stolen from McKinleyville just between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  All of them are Hondas.

CHP officials say this time of year, there is usually an increase in the number of vehicle thefts.

"Residents are typically going out and warming up their vehicles more often because they want to get in a warm vehicle, and so that's when the thieve comes in and steals the vehicle," said Officer Matt Harvey, the Public Information Officer for the CHP Arcata Office.

But in the unincorporated areas of Humboldt County, the increase has been over the last two years. In 2013, 163 vehicles were stolen.  The year before, 131 cars were stolen.  So far, in 2014, 36 vehicles have been stolen.  Now, the CHP is increasing its presence in these areas in response to this recent spike.

"We believe that some thieves may be casing houses in some residential areas, watching patterns of homeowners and drivers and then coming back later to steal the vehicle," said Officer Harvey.

Patterns such as where people hide their spare keys outside or when people warm up their cars.  CHP officials say the most commonly stolen vehicles are older Hondas and Toyotas, because of their high resale value and the interchangeability of their parts. 

"Any vehicle that has a lose ignition switch or is getting worn out, replace that because these are able to duplicate other keys that will work in that ignition," Officer Harvey said.

They also say to get an alarm system for your car, not to hide a spare key outside, never warm up your car while leaving it unattended, and make sure your valuables are hidden from view in your vehicle.

"CHP officials also remind you to make sure that all valuable items are hidden from view,"

And to be on the lookout for suspicious activity in your neighborhood, including unknown people or vehicles being in an area for an extended amount of time.

CHP officials say if you would like to request extra patrols in an area to call them at 822-5981.