Vehicle Theft Trends: Fewer Recovered, City Risks & Food Thefts Rising

Now if you work in the Motor insurance sector, it’s always good to keep tabs on regional variation in vehicle thedfts. As the UK enters a recession it’s likely that more cars and vans will be stolen, for a variety of reasons. Then there are the arranged thefts, made by those in debt, who hope and insurance payout will solve their financial problems.

Northgate Hire has delved into the latest annual data by the Government and local police departments to reveal the areas in the UK which see the highest, and lowest, reports of vehicle crime.

Highest Instances of Vehicle Crime

In the latest annual data, the Metropolitan Police Service noted over 100,000 incidents of vehicle crime last year, with the month of November seeing the highest. No surprises there, as over 10 million people (estimated) live and work within Greater London.

With nearly 70% less reported incidents than the capital, West Midlands Police still see the second highest level of vehicle crime, with just over 30,000 incidents last year alone. While the number of incidents steadily increased throughout last year, it was December that saw the highest. Just under 92% of the crimes in this month saw a complete investigation with no suspect identified.

West Yorkshire Police sits in third with over 14,000 automotive felonies in the latest annual data. While this area sees the highest reports in October, it’s November that saw the most instances of vehicle crime across UK forces last year. Northgate has divided the data into counties and metropolitan cities, which is OK, as far as it goes.

More daylight theft of vehicles is happening, as people become ever more wary of making an intervention in any situation, which may lead to their arrest by the Police, or retribution from criminals.

Cars Are Still Being Left Unlocked – Food is Being Stolen From Cars

For the ten years leading up to 2020, the door being unlocked has been cited as the most common method of entry for theft surrounding vehicles. While breaking the window (or attempting to) has steadily decreased over the years. In the same time frame, thefts in the morning or afternoon increased by 113%, while thefts at the weekend decreased.

That said the data does show that using key code scanning devices to gain entry is more popular.

For insurers, the trend worth watching is that vehicles not being recovered as a percentage, is now at 72% – the highest it has ever been. That suggests vehicles are being “chop shopped” for spares, or exported overseas by organised gangs. Obviously high value cars are more likely to be cloned, re-number plated, new fake chassis numbers applied etc.

When it comes to the contents of vehicles, valuables are the most common item to be stolen and this has steadily increased over the past decade. On the other hand, the theft of exterior fittings has decreased by over 50% in this time period. The average cost of items stolen from a vehicle has increased by more than 96% over a decade. One detail worth noting is that theft of food items rose in 2019-20 and you can expect this to continue as food inflation is running at about 25-30% in the UK right now.

Interestingly the Police data makes no separate mention of rising catalyser thefts. These are often organised by pro gangs, who target NHS and other public car parks, plus driveways. Anecdotal evidence suggests cat thefts are directly linked to the demand for the rare earth metals in the catalytic converters – so if the bullion price on platinum keeps rising, expect more thefts.

Neil McCrossan, Sales and Marketing Director at Northgate said: “We know how precious our vehicles can be to us and how much it can impact our everyday lives if something is to happen to them. We decided to look at the areas that saw the most, and least, vehicle crime last year to get an annual perspective of where people may need to be extra cautious of their vehicles.

About alastair walker 10205 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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