The RAC Says UK Vehicle Thefts Have Risen by 30% in Three Years

By Tom Pritchard on at

New figures from the RAC claim that the number of vehicle thefts in the UK has risen by 30 per cent, reversing a decline in thefts that's been going on since 2002.

According to the motoring organisation just under 86,000 vehicles were stolen in 2016, up from around 66,000 in 2013. While the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders claims that cars have "never been more secure", according to the RAC thieves are getting more tech savvy, which is helping them beat modern car security systems.

The RAC got its figures from 40 police forces across England and Wales, with the worst offender being (shock, horror!) London. Nearly a third of all cars were stolen in the English capital, closely followed by the West Midlands, West Yorkshire, and Greater Manchester. The largest rise in thefts came from Warwickshire, which saw the number of cars stolen rise by 189 per cent between 2013 and 2016.

RAC insurance director Mark Godfrey said that these new statistics are "bad news" for car owners, because an increase in thefts causes an increase in insurance premiums. He also noted that more old-school anti-theft devices like wheel locks are making a comeback because they offer a visual deterrent. Also you can't electronically hack a lock, and any level-headed car thief wouldn't want to waste time breaking into a car, hotwiring it, then being forced to pick an extra lock.

Tamzen Isacsson, director of communications and international at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said that new technology has helped to reduce levels of theft, and while manufacturers invest billions to stay one step there is more that can be done. He specifically called for stronger rules prevent the sale of device that clone or block signals, noting that they have no real legal purpose.

Despite the RAC's new stats, a spokesperson for the Home Office told BBC News that vehicle thefts were at "record low levels". That's according to Crime Survey of England and Wales, which is based on people's own experiences of crime. Although there is an inherent flaw in surveys, since they require people to 1) take part, and 2) actually be honest about the information they hand over. At least police stats will be based on people reporting stolen cars, which they're likely to be a lot more forthcoming with.

But regardless of who you place your faith in, it's always a good idea to safeguard your stuff. Especially if it's as important as your car. It's always a good idea to make sure you can do everything you can to strop it from being pinched. [RAC via BBC News]


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