Boyle Heights is at the top of the list of LA neighborhoods with the most car thefts so far in 2020, as authorities say a recent rise in cases may be a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a tally by data tracker Crosstown, there were 327 car thefts in Boyle Heights the second quarter of 2020, compared to 295 the same period last year.

Across all of Los Angeles, Crosstown found a record high of 5,744 stolen vehicles from April to July – a 57.7 increase from the same period in 2020.

In contrast, there was only a slight increase in car thefts from January to March of this year. Other findings:

  • There were 2,055 vehicles stolen in June, nearly double the 1,167 reported in the same month last year.
  • There were more auto thefts between April-June than during any quarter since the LAPD began making its data public over a decade ago.

Crosstown reported that an April spike in car thefts appeared to be related to the beginning of the pandemic.

According to law enforcement officials cited, the pandemic created new opportunities for car thieves, with more people leaving their vehicles parked on the streets for extended periods.

Another factor may be a county policy passed in late March meant to reduce the spread of coronavirus in jails. The policy eliminated the bail requirement for low-level felonies and misdemeanors.

Catalytic converters

Asides from warning about the increase of car thefts, the Hollenbeck Division of the LAPD recently reported an increase in thefts of catalytic converters, due to the high value in the metals palladium and rhodium used in the devices. The Department shared the following tips on its social media to avoid having your converter being stolen:

  • Park your car in a well-lit area (or use motion-detection lights if parking in a driveway)
  • Purchase a catalytic converter lock if you have to park on the street — most are a metal webbing to secure the converter to the car, or you can have it welded to the car frame
  • Etch the license plate number on the catalytic converter, so they can identify the victims and successfully apprehend the criminals

If your car is stolen, the LAPD says you should call police immediately and share the following data:

  • Year, make, model and color of the car
  • License plate number
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)





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