The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reported this week that car thieves were most active in California in 2003. Six of the nation´s ten hottest spots for vehicle theft rates are in California, while the remaining four are Phoenix-Mesa, AZ; Las Vegas, NV; Miami, FL; and Detroit, MI. For 2003, the ten metropolitan statistical areas with the highest vehicle theft rates were: 1. Modesto, CA 2. Phoenix-Mesa, AZ 3. Stockton-Lodi, CA 4. Las Vegas, NV 5. Sacramento, CA 6. Fresno, CA 7. Oakland, CA 8. Miami, FL 9. San Diego, CA 10. Detroit, MI According to Hot Spots 2003, its annual report on auto thefts, NICB reviewed data supplied by the FBI for each of the country´s 336 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The rate is determined by the number of vehicle theft offenses per 100,000 inhabitants.When compared with the data from 2002, Hot Spots 2003 contains some good news as well. For example, the MSAs of Seattle and Tacoma, WA (numbers nine and ten, respectively in 2002) fell from the top ten list completely, and replaced by newcomers San Diego, CA and Detroit, MI, ninth and tenth place, respectively.After declining steadily through 1999, vehicle thefts began creeping upward in 2000 with a dramatic increase in 2001. In 2001, an estimated 1,228,391 vehicles were stolen which was an increase of 68,389 thefts over 2000. In 2003, an estimated 1,260,471 vehicles were reported stolen which was an increase of 13,825 from 2002. So while the incidents of theft are up, the rate of increase has been trending in a positive direction.