Analysis of theft data recorded by the stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) expert, Tracker, reveals that London continues to top the list of regions where cars are most stolen and recovered. Neighbouring county Essex jumped back up to the number two hot spot, as Essex police constantly discover new ‘chop-shops’ where stolen vehicles are stripped down and expensive parts sold on.
Comparing the Tracker 2019 data with recently published UK Police Force data, West Midlands – which secures third place in the Tracker 2019 league table - saw a 45% increase in vehicle theft across the UK between 2016-19. Hertfordshire and Surrey, which feature seventh and eight places in the Tracker stolen and recovered table, reported a 50% and 44% theft increase respectively, by the UK’s police.
“It is clear from both sets of data that thieves have stepped up activity in some regions over recent years,” confirms Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker. “During this period of lockdown, it is even more important that car owners remain vigilant and do what they can to keep their car safe.”
Hot spot regions identified by Tracker include Essex, Kent, Surrey and Hertfordshire in the south east of England, where BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover were favoured in equal measure by thieves. West and South Yorkshire, Manchester and Merseyside represent the north of England’s criminal hotspots; Merseyside reappears in the league table having dropped out in 2018. The Range Rover Vogue is the most favoured car in Manchester, compared to the BMW X5 being the most stolen and recovered vehicle in neighbouring West Yorkshire.
Clive Wain, continues, “Our analysis highlights some interesting manufacturer preferences by region, as 4x4s continuing to dominate our top 10 most desirable makes and models that thieves are stealing. However, whilst it is common for car thieves to target premium marques, we should not underestimate the appetite for lower value cars.”
There has also been an upward trend in keyless car thefts. A massive 92% of the cars Tracker recovered last year were taken without using the keys. This represents a worrying increase of 26% compared with four years ago when the figure stood at 66%.
“To help prevent car owners falling victim to keyless car theft, traditional visual deterrents, such as crook locks and wheel clamps can help deter thieves and are a good investment to make. However, those motorists that have invested in SVR technology are very clearly benefiting from the protection,” concludes Clive Wain.
Tracker Top 10 Regions of stolen and recovered vehicles in 2019
UK Police Force Top 5 rises in vehicle theft across the UK between 2016-2019