Nearly a quarter of a million vehicles were broken into in 2016, with 26 police forces – more than half of all those in England, Scotland and Wales – seeing more thefts from cars than the previous year, according to data seen by RAC Insurance.
A total of 239,920 vehicle break-ins were reported to 42 police forces – 8,698 more than in 2015 (231,222), representing a 4% increase. However, this is a 9% reduction on 2013 when there were 263,574 thefts from vehicles.
Responses to a freedom of information request made by RAC Insurance reveal that the City of London constabulary saw the largest rise with a 76% increase (46 to 81). Northamptonshire experienced the second greatest rise with 41% (2,864 to 4,043). Wiltshire Police (1,680 to 2,074) and Dyfed-Powys (446 to 549) were joint third with a 23% increase.
Of the 15 forces that recorded reductions in thefts from vehicles from 2015 to 2016 Cheshire Constabulary saw the largest fall in such crimes with 19% fewer (2,827 to 2,284). Cumbria’s numbers for the offence went down by 11% (780 to 697) and North Wales Police’s by 10% (1,326 to 1,187).
RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey said: “Even though police data shows the number of thefts from vehicles has fallen by 9% in the three years from 2013, it is very worrying to see that more than half of British police forces have witnessed a rise in this type of crime from 2015 to 2016.
What Are The Most Common Things Stolen From Cars?
It is still in-car music systems, according to research by UK Carline in 2017, with shopping bags in second place and the old school Sat Nav in third spot.
Interestingly disabled driver blue badges made number seven on the top ten list, and in 10th place is the number plate – many thieves want to disguise an illegal vehicle from Police ANPR systems, so having a plate fitted with anti-theft bolts is probably a good idea.
Your Insurance Will Rise Too
“Breaking into cars to steal things causes motorists no end of headaches. Not only do they lose and have to try to replace their valued possessions, most will have to make an insurance claim to get their car repaired. While this can be a time-consuming and stressful process in itself, its effects will unfortunately be felt for years to come with increased annual premiums and having to declare the claim for three years whenever arranging a new car insurance policy.
“A lot of people breaking into vehicles will be opportunist, with thieves looking for items that they can sell on easily. It’s also possible that drivers have become more complacent about what items they leave on display, perhaps believing items like satnavs are now so commonplace they’re not of interest to thieves. Some may believe the fact a vehicle is alarmed makes it safe, but unfortunately this is not the case as very few people respond to the sound of a car alarm.
“Anyone unlucky enough to suffer a vehicle break-in should report it to the police as soon as possible and obtain a crime reference number which will assist with the subsequent insurance claim.”
Drivers looking for advice on how to avoid being a victim of car crime can look at the RAC’s online guide.