Car thefts rising dramatically with drivers warned of key hotspots for vehicle crime

Person stealing a vehicle

Car crime continues to rise with huge increase compared to 2021

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 26/09/2023

- 15:28

Updated: 26/09/2023

- 16:02

Drivers can reduce their chances of having their vehicle stolen by investing in motion-activated lights and CCTV cameras

Drivers are being warned of hotspots around the country where car crime is most prevalent, with more than 130,000 vehicles stolen in 2022.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and AA Insurance Services found that vehicle theft had resulted in a 24.9 per cent increase in 2022 compared to the previous year.

Greater London remains the UK’s vehicle theft capital, with 24 per cent of incidents reported so far in 2023, according to Trackstar Connected Services.

With the larger concentration of vehicles in the capital, thefts are higher, with almost one-quarter of vehicles stolen in the UK being taken in London.

WATCH NOW: Car crime warning

West Midlands placed in second, with just under one-fifth of vehicle thefts so far in 2023, with hotspots including Birmingham, Coventry and Hereford.

Another major activity hub, Greater Manchester, came third with eight per cent of total thefts with the police force recently advocating for vehicle tracking as a method for theft recovery.

Other major areas like Essex, Merseyside, West Yorkshire and Hertfordshire appear in the 10 areas with the highest number of vehicle thefts.

Data from West Midlands Police between the start of January and the end of June this year, 8,077 vehicle theft incidents took place.

However, only 1,456 car theft incidents were attended by a police officer, with many experts calling on police forces around the country to act and attend to as many vehicle-related crimes as they can.

Drivers are constantly urged to take action to reduce the chances of having their vehicles stolen from simple things like buying a Faraday pouch to larger tasks like installing CCTV cameras.

Experts advise drivers to lock the door and always park in a well-lit and secure area, like a car park or garage if they have one.

Physical measures can also deter criminals including motion-activated lights, steering locks and investing in security window etching.

Jon Eaves, managing director of Teletrac Navman Connected Services, said: “As the theft of vehicles continues to rise, it is more important than ever for drivers to take proactive steps to protect their vehicles.

“Our advanced GPS and GSM technology can help track stolen vehicles and enable quick recovery, making it an essential tool for all drivers."

Through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, data revealed that the Nissan Leaf was the most at-risk electric car on UK roads.

While data is still limited for EV thefts, 49 registered thefts of Leaf models have already taken place this year, making it the most stolen EV over the last five years.

A staggering 93 per cent of total Hyundai Ioniq 5 thefts have taken place this year, making it the second-most targeted for criminals.

High-end models like the Tesla Model S, Audi e-tron and the MG5 are also frequent targets for thieves.


A keyless car fob

Drivers can buy a Faraday pouch to minimise the risk of having their car stolen


Regions with the highest number of vehicle theft

1. Greater London – 24 per cent

2. West Midlands – 19 per cent

3. Greater Manchester – eight per cent

4. Essex – six per cent

5. Merseyside – five per cent

6. Edinburgh and Glasgow – five per cent

7. South Yorkshire – five per cent

8. West Yorkshire – three per cent

9. Staffordshire – three per cent

10. Hertfordshire – two per cent

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