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      Stolen Cars Capitol: Fresno Again Ranked Near Worst

      Fresno is now the second worst city in America for car thefts, only trailing Modesto in thatcategory.{} And according to one expert, lax law enforcement is one of thebigger reasons that's happening.

      Californiahas eight of the ten worst cities in a new National Insurance Crime Bureaureport.

      The onlynon-California cities in the top ten are Yakimaand Spokane, Washington.

      According toan official with the International Association of Auto Theft INvestigators, California does sopoorly because of the high number of cars on the roads here and because of weaklaw enforcement.

      Bakersfield, CA came in at third worstin the survey.{} Fresnowas ranked the worst in the country in last year's survey.{} {}

      it's the firsttime auto theft rates have gone up, nationally,{}in several years.


      "Californiarates are going up because there's no resources and no law enforcement," JohnAbounader, executive director at the International Association of Auto TheftInvestigators, said in a phone interview. "Criminals know where the resourcesare and they go where they're not."

      California has more vehicles thanother states, access to ports and borders for smuggling, and mild weather thatkeeps cars in good shape, Scafidi said. Drug use also drives thefts, he said.

      "There's a notorious methamphetamine problemin this state," Scafidi said. "Where you have a lot of drug problems, policewill tell you, you have a lot of property crimes. It's like peanut butter andjelly."