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First three months of the year the worst for auto theft in Abbotsford

If your car is going to be stolen in Abbotsford, it's most likely to happen in the first three months of the year, according to statistics released today (Wednesday) by the police department.

Const. Ian MacDonald said January, February and March have seen the highest rates of auto thefts over the last three years (2009 to 2011), but police don't know why.

"It's a bit of a head-scratcher," he said.

The number of vehicles stolen in January averaged 82 over the last three years, while February and March averaged 61. MacDonald said these months account for 33 per cent of the vehicles stolen throughout the year.

The three-year monthly average for the number of vehicles stolen through the rest of the year ranges from 36 to 55.

MacDonald said the most commonly stolen vehicles are those manufactured in the 1990s, before anti-theft devices were built in.

Honda Civics averaged 52 per year over the last three years, while Ford pickups were at 51 and Dodge pickups were at 48.

Completing the top-10 list of most-stolen cars are: Honda Accord (an average of 35 per year), Chevy pickups (23), GMC pickups (18), Jeep Cherokee (14), Dodge Caravan (13), Acura Integra (11) and Toyota Camry (nine).

MacDonald said although police have reduced auto theft by 34 per cent since 2009, they are still concerned about the numbers.

"We believe many thefts can be avoided and that collectively we can make it even tougher on auto thieves."

He said many people fail to lock their vehicles or do not remove their valuables, often keeping them in plain view.

Last year, the Abbotsford Police Department offered free steering wheel locks to the drivers of the most-stolen vehicles. That program is still running, and drivers are welcome to visit the community policing office at 34194 Marshall Rd. for more information.

As well, the APD partnered with Canadian Tire, which promotes the sale of anti-theft devices in its Abbotsford store.

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