Car thefts up by 30% – is your car safe?

News entry dated 05th Oct 2017

Car theft has risen by 30% in recent years, with 85,688 cars reported as stolen in 2016. That compares to just 65,783 in 2013. The figures, gathered by the RAC from 40 police forces using a Freedom of Information request, raise questions around the efficacy of modern anti-theft technology. The RAC also found a notable rise in the theft of motorcycles and scooters.

The numbers from Warwickshire were the most shocking. Car thefts there rose by 189% between 2013 and 2016. Hampshire was second, with a 59% rise, followed by West Yorkshire, with an increase of 57%. In fourth place was Norfolk, with a 56% rise in car theft over the period.

Is modern technology failing?

This rise in car theft is surprising, given the amount that car manufacturers have been spending on fitting new cars with what they believe are effective alarms and immobilisers. The reality seems to be that ‘high-tech car thieves’ are able to get around these without too much trouble at all.

Cars that use keyless fobs seem to be the worst hit, according to the RAC’s research. The findings suggest that this particular technology is far from secure. It seems that those who know how can manipulate the devices to facilitate their criminal plans.

Organised gangs are now one of the main issues when it comes to car theft. They steal cars and export them abroad for profit. One gang was even seen stealing a £60,000 BMW X5 by holding a bag up to a house door. The method suggests that they used a device to activate and extend the reach of the keyless fob inside the home.

The police, Home Office, National Crime Agency, National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, Europol and car manufacturers are working together to try and crack down on car crime. However, it seems that the anti-theft devices being put in place are just not up to scratch.

Car theft rates had actually been decreasing since 2002. This highlights the fact that it is the latest technology that is making it easier for people to steal vehicles.

 

(Credit – Turelio CC by 3.0)

How to keep your car safe

In addition to the fear of having their cars broken into, motorists are also seeing this rise in car thefts have an effect on insurance premiums. Combined with a variety of other factors, this is making the cost of driving even more expensive.

One consequence is a rise in the number of people purchasing anti-theft devices like those used back in the 1980s and 1990s. Steering wheel locks and gear stick locks are enjoying something of a resurgence.

There are several steps you can take to help keep your car safe. Firstly, parking it somewhere safe particularly at night. Always remember to lock it, with all windows and the sunroof closed securely. Remember to leave all valuables out of sight as well. You should also ensure that you have any appropriate alarms and immobilisers fitted, which will hopefully deter anyone who is hoping to steal it.

In addition to this, never leave your car running while it is unattended. Also try to avoid leaving your registration document in the vehicle, as this can help thieves to get away with stealing it if they’re stopped by the police.

If you want an obvious deterrent, a steering wheel lock is ideal. This shows people that you’ve taken steps to secure your car, which may make them think that you have other devices in place too (even if you don’t).

By following these tips, you can decrease your chance of being a victim of car theft, even if the numbers continue their steep rise.

Have you noticed your insurance premiums rising in line with the increase in car theft? Have you resorted to purchasing physical security devices to complement technological ones? Leave a comment below to share your experiences. 

Comments

27 Comments On "Car thefts up by 30% – is your car safe?"

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Tarun
Tarun

It’s the age old debate, seems that most car thieves will take the risk because the penalties if caught are too lenient. Organised gangs will factor in fines/sentences into their ‘business plan’.

We have a culture in this country of not protecting the rights of those who work hard to be able to afford such luxuries as attractive cars.

Fine them, tag them, stick them in prison. If there aren’t enough prison cells, erm, build more prisons? If we can’t then pay one of our Commonwealth friends to build and run them!

Stanley
Stanley

Peeved with increases despite impeccable track record and low local crime rate, I tried Admiral for my needs.
Very happy. Very well organised and low prices…..so far.

Madamtwoswords
Madamtwoswords
The government victimises the motorist in many ways financially, but gives the motorist no protection against theft via the police, so criminals are possibly stealing billions of pounds worth of vehicles. Teenagers don’t seem to be arrested for theft from a vehicle or the theft of a vehicle so send abroad. How can this teach youngsters any common law values or boundaries, quite often, Most of the time, it’s the parents fault for no taking the responsibility for their job as a good parents… Without parents teaching respect to their children, the children will never know about teaching their own… Read more »
Linas
Linas
It has nothing to do with technology. The problem is government “unofficial” policy not to investigate crimes relating to private vehicles unless somebody has been injured. That said car theft and theft from cars, criminal damage to the vehicles and similar are simply not being investigated. Criminals have already realised that and the rates of crime involving cars will continue to increase. I understand government is trying to deter people from owning and driving cars, that is already evident from one of the highest car ownership costs in EU, astronomical and unfair insurance, high fuel duties, high road tax (some… Read more »
chris
chris

Cut ignition wire from fuse box splice wires to an on/off switch hidden from view. This should allow the engine to turn over but not start when in the off position, Tried and tested for over 40 years and never had my car nicked.

Raf
Raf

All you need to steal new car full of electronic is laptop with right software and wireless devices.

John
John

And there’s the problem, most motorists do not want to go back to the 80’s with physical deterrents. It really should not be beyond manufacturers to have a piece of software protection for modern vehicles. Perhaps we all need a Denver Boot in the boot ⛓️

Madamtwoswords
Madamtwoswords

For every bit of new technology invented, another machine has to be designed to test it, hence, the way to over-ride the new piece of tech has ALSO been invented to test it!

David
David

Remember the Trunk Monkey

Martin E
Martin E

So are the car manufacturers wasting money (eventually to re-charge) to make the failing systems more secure, or making a cut in costs and reverting to the more secure and only slightly less convenient systems. What was wrong with one button press, insert key, and turn.

Rouflab
Rouflab

Have a Ford transit Motor home. Got extra door locks fitted, steering wheel immobilised by hefty chain and padlock and the clutch immobilised with a clamping system. The side door has an extra Fiamma door lock as has the rear garage and gas compartment.. Not much one can do with the windows.. All one is deter the thief and make them choose an easier option. Our other cars have hefty chains and padlocks. CCTV monitors the whole exterior of the house, and there are security lights as well

Terry
Terry

Anybody using old-fashioned steering locks is just paranoid.

Paul Thurlby
Paul Thurlby

Yes,my Fiesta with keyless locking and keyless starting was taken off our drive. Now replaced with a Fiesta with a KEY and using a Krooklock!!!

jerryw
jerryw

I’ve had car insurance on two cars or more for forty years, and house insurance for longer, and have made not one single claim on any of them.
This has not stopped them from increasing the premiums each year.
Now I shop around every year and just pick whatever is cheapest. But in forcing me to do that, despite being about as low risk as insurance gets, the insurance industry should be thoroughly ashamed of itself.
I don’t believe any of them has a clue about the realities of risk assessment. A meerkat could do better

Ian M
Ian M

Another tip that has been suggested (not sure if it works or not but sounds sensible) is, if you have a keyless fob then do not leave it near the front door but rather put it into a tin, then into your (empty) microwave to stop the wireless receivers used by the professional thieves picking up your car’s signal.

Graham
Graham

Yep. Car stolen and not found.
So I’ve fitted a Tracker and more importantly, a steering lock – the round one.

D. G. brown
D. G. brown

I had cameras installed front and back to assist in obtaining proof of other people’s acts that cause damage to my car. To me that was of major concern as I also have a Tracker fitted in case it was stolen. The Tracker is in addition the manufacturer’s anti theft devices. I am aware of the rising cost of insurance each year axh41und hope that these devices will help to reduce my insurance cost. The Tracker did help in reducing costs and it remains to be seen if the cameras will also have the same effect.

David
David

Just goes to show the old systems are way better. We’re supposed to believe digital technology is the panacea for everything when in fact it usually screws us over more!

Paul M
Paul M

I’d like to see a chart of car crime against police funding, and police staffing levels. I’m sure there’s a clear correlation.

Steve S
Steve S

Paul. I sense you’d be disappointed. We’re paying for pretty much the same number of police as ever, it’s just that the smart ones know the best way to get on is to get a cushy desk job in some specialised unit, rather than protecting us from property theft. (Two recent good examples of their misplaced priorities have been the witch hunts against Cliff Richard and the late Ted Heath, but there are plenty more.) The fact that you don’t often see police on the beat doesn’t mean we’re not paying for them!

Chris
Chris

“Gangs” and where are most of these gangs from? Eastern Europe, thats one of the reasons as well. In fact it’s likely the main reason. My “ex” works for government security agency and she states they all moan about the criminals coming over from eastern Europe, which they can’t do anything about due to free movement.rules of the EU. Hopefully this crime will start going back down when they are all deported.

Peter Coughtrey
Peter Coughtrey

Keyless fob owners should all invest in a signal-blocking pouch (to be had online for under £10) which stops the signal from the keyless fob escaping – a cheap and easy solution.

Keith
Keith

I bought a signal blocking pouch to put my car keys in at home so thieves can’t amplify the proximity signal.

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