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Pent-up demand for new cars could escalate car crime

With car crime already on the rise, 2020 could see rates increase further due to pent-up demand for both new cars and parts.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class theft using radio device

Delays in production of new cars and parts are only likely to further increase car crime, warns Tracker

Tracker has warned that the abrupt halt seen in new car production from April, as a result of the global epidemic, has caused delays to the supply chain and created a shortage of spare parts. And the firm adds that pent-up demand for both new cars and parts is likely to increase values and boost trade for criminals stealing to fill the gap.

Clive Wain, head of police liaison at Tracker, commented: “Even before the UK’s lockdown, police across the country were fighting an increasing number of ‘chop-shops’ – where vehicles are stolen, and their valuable parts sold on as spares. Delays within the legitimate supply chain caused by manufacturers being forced to close, and then reopen with lower capacity, are bound to increase the popularity and profitability of these criminal organisations.”

Latest figures from RAC Insurance already confirm a 56% leap in vehicle thefts over four years. The company made a freedom of information request to all English, Scottish and Welsh police forces, and found that more than 150,000 vehicles had been stolen across the regions from 2018 to 2019, up 10,000 on the previous year and almost 55,000 higher than four years earlier – an increase of 56%.  But some police forces saw three-digit increases in theft, including the West Midlands (up 121%), Suffolk (up 172%) and Surrey (up 133%).

Clive Wain continued: “Our own stolen and recovered figures mirror the RAC Insurance’s findings, with the biggest increases in London and the surrounding counties, as well as the West Midlands. We expect to see increases across all regions when the 2020 figures come out next year, due to the impact lockdown has had on manufacturing. Whilst we face the increased risk, drivers must take precautions to better-protect their vehicles from opportunistic criminals.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.