It wasn't all that long ago that a stolen car was as common a crime as vandalism or petty theft.
But in the last few years, the number of vehicle thefts has dropped dramatically across B.C., including in the Tri-Cities.
According to statistics released by ICBC, the number of theft-of-vehicle incidents in Coquitlam dropped by 85 per cent going back to 2003.
There were 70 cars stolen in the city in the first six months of this year, compared to 478 in 2003.
The number of thefts peaked in 2004 at 532, but has been in a steady decline year-after-year since.
It's a similar story in Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.
The number of car thefts in PoCo has dropped 82 per cent since 2003, to 35 in the first half of 2012 from 191 in 2003.
Again the numbers peaked in 2004 at 246 and have continued to come down in the years since.
In Port Moody, the number of stolen cars has tumbled 88 per cent to just five in the first six months of 2012, com-pared to 43 in 2003.
As was the case with the other Tri-Cities, the number of thefts from the City of the Arts peaked years earlier at 48 in 2005.
For officials at ICBC, there are a few reasons for the decline.
Jill Blacklock, a road-safety delivery manager with ICBC, suggested cars are becoming harder to steal since laws were introduced in the middle of the last decade forcing auto manufacturers to install immobilizers on all new vehicles.
She also suggested the province's bait car program, which was introduced in 2003, has been a major deterrent for car thieves.
"People are just doing a better job of protecting themselves and locking their vehicles and making their vehicles less attractive to thieves," Blacklock said.
With more new vehicles hitting the road each year, ICBC expects the number of auto thefts to continue to drop in the coming years, though not as dramatically.
Interestingly, the drop in auto thefts has coincided with a similar drop in theft-from-vehicle reports.
Blacklock said people are doing a better job of protecting themselves and putting away valuables.
She contends when there is a spike in thefts in an individual community, which does occur on occasion, it's usually tied to a handful of people who may be out of jail.
Provincially, auto thefts have dropped by 74 per cent since 2003.