Number of cars stolen leaps 30% in three years

Written by Ellie

Car theft has rocketed by almost a third in the past three years, according to figures from RAC.

A freedom of information request by the RAC’s Insurance division found that 85,688 vehicles were reported stolen to 40 police forces in 2016, 30.2 per cent more than the 65,783 from 2013.

In geographical terms, it probably won’t be a shock that London was deemed to be the UK car theft capital, with 26,496 vehicles being reported to Metropolitan Police in 2016. That’s 30.9 per cent of all car theft in the UK last year and a 29 per cent uplift since 2013.

Outside of the capital, the West Midlands was next with 5,930 thefts reported – a 43 per cent leap on 2013’s figure (4,161) – followed by West Yorkshire (5,597, +57 per cent since 2013) and Greater Manchester (4,999).

Immobilisers, more secure keys and car alarms had helped tackle car theft in the early 2000s but theft numbers are now back on the rise after bottoming out in 2013 and 2014.

RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey fears that thieves are now becoming increasingly equipped and can defeat car manufacturers’ anti-theft systems with more ease than ever before.

This, he adds, has pushed insurance premiums skywards at a time when motorists are being hit with rises in insurance premium tax and higher fuel costs. Thankfully, drivers can keep a tight leash on the price of petrol and diesel by applying for a fuel card.

Mr Godfrey advised that motorists could avoid falling victim to car thieves by parking in well-lit areas, not leaving anything valuable on view and using telematics or black box technology.

He went on to say: “Anti-theft devices such as steering wheel locks which were popular in the 1980s and early 1990s are starting to make a comeback as they are still a very effective visible deterrent.

“This is quite ironic as they were replaced a number of years ago by alarms and immobilisers, which until now, offered better theft prevention.”

Molly Benton, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, added: “It’s frustrating to see that car theft is back on the rise after all the progress made in the 2000s in bringing them down. We hope a new wave of technology can help cut them to a new low over the coming years.”

Photo: djedzura/iStock

Posted on 29th September 2017

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