Crime Trends

Canny car owners win the war against thieves

New Home Office data reveals stolen vehicle recovery rates plummet for owners without protection

Shocking new figures from the Home Office reveal that vehicle thefts in England and Wales exceeded 101,000 in 2021, more than twice those published by the DVLA earlier this year.1 Furthermore, less than 28% of stolen vehicles were ever recovered in 2021, compared to 80% in 2006. However, shrewd motorists who protect their assets with a stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) device are benefiting from a 95% recovery success rate, thanks to Tracker Network (UK) Ltd.

Worryingly, analysis of theft and recovery data from Tracker for the first half of 2022 suggests vehicle thefts are rising. More than £5 million worth of vehicles in the first six months of 2022 were recovered by Tracker, an increase of 13% compared to the same period in 2021.

Mirroring national police theft data, Range Rovers and Land Rovers are the makes of car most stolen and recovered by Tracker, accounting for four of the top models recovered this January-June. They also account for 44% of all cars recovered by Tracker. The other make and model taking a spot in Tracker’s top five list was the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
A marriage of unique technology, a team of tracking experts and police support make Tracker a superior force in the fight against vehicle theft. Tracker is the only SVR provider that uses the combination of VHF with GPS/GSM technology which works like an electronic homing device and is immune to GPS jammers, commonly employed by thieves. Crucially, it is the only provider supported nationwide by UK police forces. Tracker detection units are fitted in over 2,000 police patrol vehicles and throughout the national fleet of Police helicopters that comprise the National Police Air Service (NPAS). 

Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker said, “Whilst the new Home Office figures are cause for alarm when compared to the DVLA data, the number has dropped from 180,000 in 2006 when the Home Office last published car theft figures. However, organised crime gangs are very astute, keeping pace with developing security technologies at a disturbing rate. Indeed, our own data revealed that keyless car theft accounted for 94% of stolen vehicles we recovered last year, up from 92% the previous year and a record.”

The Government is repeatedly being called upon to hold car manufacturers accountable for security vulnerabilities, such as keyless theft. Keyless theft works through a relay-style electronic device comprising two boxes; one near the key fob, the other near the car. The devices transmit the key fob signal and trick the keyless entry technology installed in the vehicle into thinking that the key is in close proximity to the car, allowing instant remote access. The ‘relay attack’ allows thieves to unlock and start the vehicle within seconds.

Clive Wain concludes, “It’s a harsh reality of life today that factory fitted vehicle security systems alone, regardless of how sophisticated they are, will not 100% protect its owner from becoming a victim of theft.  But investing in a stolen vehicle recovery solution that is supported nationwide by the police, can significantly improve the chances of you getting it back. Our recovery rate speaks for itself; 95% of vehicles fitted with a Tracker device are being returned to their owners instead of being sold on, shipped abroad, or broken down for parts.”



1Analysis of data from a Freedom of Information request by Claims Management & Adjusting (CMA)