Car theft by keys on the rise, reports TRACKER
Latest data from the stolen vehicle tracking and recovery systems specialist shows that the percentage of vehicles it recovered that were stolen using the owner's keys has worryingly gone up to 80% in Q1 of 2010, from 74% at the end of last year.
There have also been some changes in the most commonly stolen vehicles, according to the firm. In Q1 2010 the top three most commonly stolen and recovered models remained unchanged when compared to 2009, with the BMW X5 at the top, followed by the Land Rover Range Rover and BMW M3. However, the Audi TT slipped down the popularity ladder and the Land Rover Defender took its place, pushing the Audi RS4 down to sixth in the TRACKER top ten stolen and recovered league. At the bottom of the chart, the Porsche 911 and Boxster joined the Audi Q7 at ten, as did the Subaru Impreza.
The highest value stolen vehicle recovery in Q1 by TRACKER was a Mercedes CL63 AMG worth £120,000, whilst the lowest value vehicle recovered was a Ford Sierra worth £1,000.
This shows how thieves will target vehicles across a range of values, especially as today's market means car buyers are looking for bargains, said Stephen Doran, managing director for TRACKER. He added: 'The recession is taking its toll on thieves too and we have seen them adjust their targets to suit buyers, making lower-value vehicles just as valuable to them as the fancy sports cars.'
Unsurprisingly, the regional picture shows that London remains the hot spot for thefts, with Essex and Greater Manchester in second and third – no change from 2009. However, West Yorkshire and the West Midlands were both prime targets this time last year, but have been replaced by Kent and Surrey. South Yorkshire, Bedfordshire, Nottinghamshire, Birmingham and Cheshire also saw a high level of theft and recovery in the first quarter of 2010.
'Once again our latest stolen vehicle recovery figures reveal that thieves are willing to consider any region as well as any vehicle,' added Mr Doran. 'Although the latest Home Office figures reveal that vehicle thefts have fallen, TRACKER recovered over £22 million worth of vehicles in 2009. This shows that vehicle theft is still a very real threat and it is more important than ever that people protect themselves and their vehicles by keeping their keys safe at all times. In addition, having a tracking device fitted vastly improves the chances of recovering a stolen vehicle, helping to reduce financial and emotional heartache.'