Fewer cars stolen & recovered in Yakima County

YAKIMA, Wash. -- The KIMA Crime Tracker is following stolen cars and learned fewer cars have been taken this year compared to last.

You don't expect to see your car disappear when you leave your house in the morning. Ron Pualani is just one of hundreds to have his car stolen.

"They have no regard for anybody's property," said Ron.

It happened two years ago and police were able to recover it. But he's still extra careful in making sure it doesn't happen again.

"I check cars periodically just to see if anybody's messing with them," said Ron.

KIMA pulled the numbers of cars stolen and recovered in Yakima County since 2011. Each year, law enforcement recovers more cars than the number reported stolen. That's because a car could have been stolen in a previous year or from a different area and recovered here.

In 2011, the number of stolen cars found was 133% of the number of cars taken. Even more were recovered last year. But as we close in on the year, that number has fallen slightly.

Deputies blame a number of reasons including chop shops that make it impossible to recover the car in one piece.

"Now that they've been to your place of either where you work or where you live," said Megan Bewley. "What step further are they going to take next? Are they going to get into your house? If you have kids, you worry about that."

"I would love to see more patrol in my area," said Ron. "I'd love to see them stop people walking up and down the streets."

Deputies also found fewer people are calling in to report car thefts. Yakima consistently makes the list as a stolen car hotspot which is why deputies keep their recovery efforts up year after year.

Deputies said a spike in car thefts happen when cars are running and left unattended. It's illegal to leave your car empty while the engine's running even if you're warming it up in the driveway.