Last year saw the worst on record for car theft since 2012
Official figures released by the Government show a sharp rise in car theft last year, with concern growing that keyless theft in the UK is becoming “standard practice.”
According to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), in England and Wales in 2017, the rate of car thefts shot up by 56%. Around 89,000 vehicles were stolen last year, jumping from 56,000 the previous year – the worst year on record since 2012.
The increase in car thefts is thought to be partly down to the growing problem surrounding keyless theft, in which criminals use what’s known as a relay device to deceive cars into believing the authentic key is close by.
“Car thieves have clearly shunned the old-fashioned opportunistic tactics of smash and grab. High-tech techniques like relay theft are becoming standard practice for thieves,” said head of roads policy for the AA, Jack Cousens.
ONS data does seem to back this up, as nearly half of all recorded thefts involved criminals gaining entry into vehicles via an unlocked door – in 2006, this figure stood at just 13%.
Occurrences involving thieves trying to force the car doors to gain entry fell from 31% to 14 per cent during the decade since 2006. From the 43 police forces in England and Wales, a worrying 41 experienced a rise in car crime.
According to the ONS, car crime figures are strong because: “The CSEW [Crime Survey for England and Wales] increase in vehicle-related theft is supported by police recorded crime figures, which are thought to be fairly well recorded for this crime type.”
The ONS suggests because of this: “That the increase seen in police recorded crime reflects a genuine increase in this type of crime.”
Also increasing was the number of attempted vehicle thefts, creeping up from 153,000 in 2016 to 196,000 in 2017, whilst episodes of belongings being stolen from cars rose from 796,000 in 2016 to 929,000 last year – increasing by 17%.
Since 2009, the number of police officers in England and Wales has decreased by a shocking 16%.
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