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UK’s car theft hot spots revealed in new study

That’s the finding of new research conducted by IntelligentCarLeasing.com, which was conducted via freedom of information requests, with a total of 42 police forces across England and Wales participating.

Each force told the leasing specialists how many cars had been reported stolen each year between 2003 and 2013. IntelligentCarLeasing.com cross-referenced this with local population sizes, revealing the top/bottom 5 areas for car thefts per head as follows (full study here):

Highest 5 Car Theft Areas Per Head Lowest 5 Car Theft Areas Per Head
1. City of London 1. Devon and Cornwall
2. Greater Manchester 2. North Yorkshire
3. Metropolitan Police Service 3. Hampshire
4. Thames Valley 4. Hertfordshire
5. Warwickshire 5. Norfolk

The study also found that the south has 4.89% more car thefts per head compared to the north. However, this is largely bolstered by a disproportionately large number of car thefts in the City of London, if this were to be taken away the north would have a much higher theft rate.

The research also found that the number of cars reported as being stolen across the UK in the past 10 years has been steadily declining. In particular between 2012 and 2013 the number of reported thefts plummeted which is a very promising sign for British motorists, insurers and the police.

Expert comments on the reasons behind this included that technology to verify key authenticity in ignition system is now widespread, there’s less profit in selling used parts than there used to be and the fact that it’s harder to sell on stolen vehicles due to advances in VIN records.

The research follows the revelation last month that common offences such as car crime are ‘on the verge of being decriminalised’ as police forces give up investigating them, according to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

Intelligent Car Leasing added its advice to motorists to help deter thieves from targeting their car:

  • Never leave your car running unattended when making short stops.
  • Be careful not to store keys near your home’s letterbox or windows.
  • Don’t leave any valuables in sight when the car is parked.
  • Have visual deterrents such as steering wheel locks and car tracker systems.
  • Try to park in a garage if you have one, and stay in well-lit areas covered by CCTV in car parks.
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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 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. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.