Car criminals across the UK 'getting away with it'

Nearly 70,000 cars are stolen every year but only one in 10 result in a conviction

According to new research carried out by the insurance company esure, thieves who steal cars and criminals who break into vehicles to steal people’s belongings are more often than not “getting away with it.”

Information was gathered by the insurance providers from over half of the police forces throughout the UK, who admitted that on the whole car criminals are going unpunished for their crimes. Facts and figures received from the forces relate to car crimes that occurred in 2015.

Car criminals across the UK getting away with it

Stolen car burnt out © Copyright dinglefoot and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

After studying the figures, esure discovered that despite an increase in the number of vehicle thefts, the number of thieves caught and charged for stealing vehicles dropped. Last year there was a 2% increase in car theft, yet the number of convictions fell by one per cent to 10% during the same time period. Nearly 70,000 cars are stolen every year in the UK but only one in 10 result in a conviction.

In reported cases of car break-ins involving thieves stealing items from inside the car, only 2.7% resulted in a formal charge. One year before in 2014, the figure stood at 3.4%.

esure discovered that a shocking 43% of car thefts aren’t investigated by the police. Also, a staggering 82% of car break-ins, in which belongings are stolen from inside the vehicle, are not followed up.

One force that did provide details to esure was Lancashire Police, who reported that 71% of car thefts, up from 69% in 2014, had “no line of inquiry resulting in no follow up investigation.”

Lancashire Police also confirmed that only 13% of stolen car cases ended up with a positive result and a guilty verdict for the individual.
According to esure, an alarming one in three car thieves who are caught and convicted for their crime re-offend within one year after being convicted.

The company’s chief underwriting officer Jon Wilshire says that most car thefts are now carried out with the use of the owner’s keys. Criminals are breaking into properties, or stealing from people’s personal belongings, to get hold of car keys and Mr Wilshire urges the public to keep their keys in a safe place at home.

He also believes car crime is on the increase across the country because criminals know they can “get away with it” and if they do get caught, few are convicted for their crime, as esure’s research proves.

Research showed that the chances of having your car returned to you after it has been stolen are very unlikely – only 29% of the vehicles stolen in 2015 were recovered and returned to their rightful owner.

A few tips from for protecting your vehicle at home:

  • Keep your keys out of sight and away from windows and front doors
  • Don’t keep your car keys on the same fob as your house keys
  • Make sure you lock up your car and if you have a garage, use it!
  • Fit a high quality car alarm and use extra security systems such as visible security locks and immobilisers
  • Never leave your keys in the car whilst you nip back inside
  •  Make sure windows are closed, the sunroof is down and the boot is locked
  •  Keep house doors locked once you are inside
  •  Invest in a high quality security system and install security lights around your property

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