New statistics have revealed that car theft in the UK has shot up by 45% in the 5 years leading up to the 2017/18 financial year.
The data, released by police forces across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland found that 112,174 vehicles were stolen in the 12 months up to April 2018.
This sharp increase over the last 5 years followed a 6-year decline in the crime.
Out of all the regions in the UK, the West Midlands saw the largest increase in stolen cars at 214%. That rise now sees 16 vehicles stolen for every 10,000 registrations. The north-west, north-east and Yorkshire also saw car theft more than double in that time period.
London, however, remains the car theft capital, with 33 out of every 10,000 registeredvehicles stolen – which is an increase of 61% over the last 5 years. Chingford, East Ham, Leytonstone, Wanstead and Ilford saw the highest number of insurance claims for theft in the capital.
Northern Ireland and Scotland bucked this trend though, as a 0% change and 23% decline were measured respectively in these regions.
Steve Barrett, head of car insurance at Direct Line, which commissioned the study, said: “With an alarming increase in the number of cars stolen over the last five years, it is more important than ever to do all we can to prevent cars from being stolen.
“Using a combination of measures such as parking in a well-lit area and security features such as steering wheel locks, or by ensuring that the car alarm system is fully activated by double-locking the vehicle, could help make it as difficult as possible for a thief and may help buy time for the alarm to be raised in case a theft is in progress.”
In the last 30 years, vehicle security technology has improved massively in an effort to combat thieves, with regulation upgrades and pressure from insurance companies providing the perfect storm for advancements.
All cars now come with a steering lock and an immobiliser, while most have alarms and locking wheels nuts for those with alloy wheels. But the rise in theft can be associated with thieves using more sophisticated techniques to exploit loopholes in keyless entry systems.
There are, however, some things you can do to help deter thieves, such as fitting a Thatcham-approved electronic immobiliser that is less vulnerable to attack, and if you have a keyless system, place the keys as far away from the vehicle as possible or buy a metal-shielded RFID-blocking to prevent the key signal from being disrupted.
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