Car theft is on the rise in the UK

Car theft is on the rise in the UK

Learn The Hard Facts About Vehicle Theft & How To Protect Yourself...

Vehicle theft is on the rise in the UK, with recent data revealing alarming statistics. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), there has been a significant 24.9% increase in vehicle thefts in England and Wales year on year. This trend is concerning for vehicle owners, and it's essential to stay informed and take steps to protect your vehicle.

In this article, we'll explore the latest findings and the most commonly stolen vehicles, dangerous areas, and other vehicle crime trends.

The Rising Tide of Vehicle Theft

In 2022, a total of 130,389 vehicles were stolen, a significant increase from the 104,435 reported thefts in 2021, according to the ONS. Additionally, AA Insurance Services data indicates a 9.9% rise in theft from vehicles, with 212,900 incidents in 2022, up from 193,647 the previous year. The numbers paint a clear picture of the growing threat of vehicle theft in the UK.

The Most Stolen Vehicles in 2023

As of June 2023, certain vehicles have become prime targets for thieves. The top stolen vehicles, measured as the number of thefts per 100,000 licensed vehicles, are:

  1. Range Rover
  2. Mercedes Benz
  3. Ford
  4. BMW
  5. Audi
  6. Toyota
  7. Fiat
  8. Volkswagen

Ford Fiesta: A Growing Concern

Ford Fiestas have also witnessed a notable surge in thefts. The DVLA reports a sharp increase from 3,909 thefts in 2021 to 5,979 in 2022.

It's worth noting that Ford has announced plans to discontinue the production of Ford Fiestas, which could lead to higher prices for Fiesta parts, potentially increasing the risk of theft.

Land Rover Range Rover: A Prime Target

Among these vehicles, Land Rover's Range Rover takes the dubious top spot for being the most stolen car in the UK. In 2023, it saw a staggering 47% increase in thefts, with 924 Range Rovers stolen for every 100,000 licensed vehicles. This surge in thefts has had far-reaching consequences, including difficulties in obtaining insurance coverage for London-area Range Rover owners. High premiums and a diminishing number of insurers willing to cover these vehicles are some of the challenges faced. Notably, the research reveals that black cars are most susceptible, with 18,000 black cars stolen in the previous year.

Danger Zones: Most Dangerous Cities and Counties

As of June 2023, Haringey, Enfield, and Westminster emerge as the most dangerous cities for vehicle crime, with crime rates per 1,000 residents of 16.48, 15.90, and 15.61, respectively. Surprisingly, the West Midlands is identified as the most dangerous area in the UK, with a reported 13 vehicle crime offences per 1,000 residents in 2022. Given the increasing trend in vehicle crime in London, residents in or near the city are strongly advised to take measures to secure their vehicles.

On a county level, the West Midlands remains the riskiest with a crime rate of 12.64, followed by London at 11.87, and Bristol at 10.72. The West Midlands has experienced a steady increase in vehicle crime, reaching its highest level since 2019 with 9 vehicle offences per 1,000 residents.

Protecting Your Vehicle from theft

As cars get more sophisticated, unfortunately, so do criminals. However, there are still some steps you can take to keep your vehicle as safe as possible, whether that's being more vigilant or investing in extra security measures. Here are some of the steps you can take to prevent car theft, as suggested by The Metropolitan Police:

  • Keep keys safe: Due to the increasing difficulty in simply 'breaking into' a vehicle, thieves are going to the source, opting to steal keys and make for an easier entry; in some disturbing cases, breaking into homes and using violence or threats.

    With this in mind, ensure your keys are kept well away from your vehicle, ensuring doors are locked whenever your car is parked outside. 

    If you have a keyless entry vehicle, ensure your keys are kept in a signal-blocking bag to prevent thieves from using additional technology to enter remotely.
  • Be Vigilant When Driving: Although it's much less likely, there is a small risk that your vehicle could be targeted even when driving! Particularly if it's a desirable make or model. 

    Simple steps such as keeping doors locked, leaving enough manoeuvring room and only pulling over in public areas (following accidents) should be enough to minimise your risk of 'carjacking'.

  • Upgrade Your Vehicle Security: If you're running an older vehicle there's plenty of after-market security available to improve things, such as better locks, alarms and immobilisers.

    Some of these could even reduce your insurance premiums, so it's worth chatting with your insurer beforehand to see what they recommend.

  • Make Sure You're Covered: Thieves are persistent, which means despite taking extra precautions you could still be a victim of vehicle theft.

    Make sure your insurance is up to date, has an affordable excess and covers you for the eventualities you need should the worst happen. It's false economy to choose a cheaper policy that doesn't actually provide the cover you need, which in the case of theft, could be extremely costly.

    If your vehicle is financed you could experience a financial shortfall if your car is targeted by thieves, so it's worth considering GAP Insurance for extra peace of mind. In most cases, GAP will make up the difference between the amount of finance you owe and the amount your insurer values your vehicle at.

    Our customers find that not only does that provide financial stability, it also minimises stress as there's no need to 'haggle' with insurers; which is one less thing to worry about if your vehicle has been stolen. Read more about it here: Can Gap Insurance Help If Your Car Is Stolen?

In Conclusion

Whilst the rise in vehicle theft can be a scary thought it's important to remember there are steps you can take to effectively minimise your risk. If you follow the advice outlined here and by the Metropolitan Police your chances of being targeted are much reduced, what's more, as we've said, it pays to talk to your insurer for their guidance. After all, it's in their interest to ensure your vehicle is as protected as possible.

Have you been the victim of vehicle theft? Perhaps we've missed a few things or you have some personal recommendations you'd like to add to our list? If so, we'd love to hear from you, get in touch using our social media icons (in the footer).


James Cartwright

James Cartwright

James is an innovator in the Gap Insurance market with a longstanding understanding of automotive and Gap Insurance and consumer trends. In authoring these articles he brings together over 20 years of industry experience and a lifetime as an automotive enthusiast.

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