Revealed: Top 20 car theft hotspots

Gareth Herincx

17 hours ago
Auto News

Car crime vehicle theft

Greater London is the car theft capital of the UK by a mile, according to an extensive study by a leading motor insurer.

Co-op Insurance found that the top 10 areas with highest rates of car crime in the UK are all found in London.

Based on the frequency of car theft claims as a percentage of policies in specific areas between 2017 and 2021, the London borough of Islington has the most car theft crimes, while the district of Torridge in Devon has the lowest.

Top 20 UK vehicle theft hotspots (by frequency of claims)

Postcode Area
1 Islington
2 Wandsworth
3 City of London
4 Camden
5 Westminster
6 Redbridge
7 Hammersmith and Fulham
8 Hackney
9 Barking and Dagenham
10 Haringey
11 Waltham Forest
12 Brent
13 Newham
14 Greenwich
15 Havering
16 Birmingham
17 Lewisham
18 Solihull
19 Southwark
20 Epping Forest
Co-op Insurance, 2017-2021

When it comes to which makes and models of cars are most likely to be targeted, the study reveals that it is smaller, lower-priced vehicles that are favoured by thieves.

The three cars stolen most frequently, by volume of total claims over the four years, are the Ford Fiesta, the Honda Jazz and the Ford Focus.

Top 20 postcodes outside London most likely to have a theft (by frequency of claims)

Postcode Area
1 Birmingham
2 Solihull
3 Manchester
4 Dudley
5 Coventry
6 Salford
7 Rochdale
8 Oldham
9 Bolton
10 Kingston upon Hull
11 Wolverhampton
12 Luton
13 Liverpool
14 Walsall
15 North Warwickshire
16 West Berkshire
17 Tameside
18 Bradford
19 Stockport
20 Kingston upon Thames
Co-op Insurance, 2017-2021

“We want to do all we can to help car owners keep their vehicles safe – they can do this by researching car crime levels in their own area and by following some simple steps that will deter a thief,” said Paul Evans, Head of Motor Insurance at Co-op Insurance.

Top tips to beat the car thieves

  1. Think before you park: if your car’s not at home, if possible, park it in a well-lit area, near to people and other cars and somewhere where it can easily be seen, preferably monitored by CCTV or a security patrol.
  2. Wheels at an angle: when parking on the street, make sure your car wheels are facing the curb (unless parking uphill or on a hill). This means that anyone trying to speed off in your car will have to release the steering wheel lock first. It also helps eliminate the chance of a thief towing or pushing your car away to a quieter spot.
  3. Invest in deterrents: something as simple as a visible steering lock can really put a car thief off. If you don’t have one fitted, and you have the resources, consider adding a car alarm, immobiliser, tracking device or dash cam.
  4. Doors to manual: you might think that by clicking your key fob, your car has automatically been locked but increasingly inexpensive remote-control jamming technology can be purchased online which blocks signals to your car: this means you’re unknowingly leaving it completely unlocked and not alarmed. Always make sure to manually check the doors and boot before you walk away.
  5. Avoid temptation: never leave valuable objects such as bags, clothes, sat navs, designer sunglasses, loose change, or mobile phones on display. This could prompt an opportunistic thief to smash a window and take your belongings. Ensure your car looks empty and free from expensive items.
  6. Switch off your engine: don’t leave your car running whilst you nip off to run an errand – you’re making it too easy for car thieves to take advantage of an empty driving seat.
  7. Fuel stations: if no one is sitting in your car, lock it as you go to pay for your fuel otherwise this gives a thief an ideal opportunity to strike.
  8. Be surroundings aware: to avoid being a victim of carjacking, when in slow moving traffic or a traffic jam, lock your windows and doors, place valuables out of sight and remain alert, especially if travelling at night or driving a convertible.

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Guess the location of the UK’s car crime capital

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

Abandoned car

New research by Direct Line Motor Insurance has revealed the UK postcodes with the highest rates of vehicle crime.

The postcode with the highest volume of vehicle crime* is CR0 (Croydon) with 6,005 recorded crimes over the past three years. That’s an average of five every day, or 39 for every 1,000 residents.

This ranks ahead of NW10 (Brent), N17 (Haringey), E17 (Waltham Forest) and NW2 (Barnet), with the highest-ranking non-London postcode being LE3 (Leicester) in seventh place.

The B40 postcode in Solihull, West Midlands, had the highest proportion of vehicle crime as a percentage of all recorded crime over the past three years. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of all crimes in the area related to vehicles.

Vehicle crime by postcode, 2019-2021

Postcode (Local Authority) Total number of vehicle crimes Total Crime & Antisocial Behaviour Vehicle crime as a proportion of all crime Vehicle crimes per 1,000 people
CR0 (Croydon) 6,005 63,841 9.4 per cent 39.0
(NW10) Brent 5,092 45,443 11.2 per cent 55.4
(N17) Haringey 4,707 35,148 13.4 per cent 74.8
(E17) Waltham Forest 3,958 41,084 9.6 per cent 38.3
(NW2) Barnet 3,703 27,147 13.6 per cent 54.8
(E14) Tower Hamlets 3,553 42,358 8.4 per cent 43.0
(LE3) Leicester 3,543 41,854 8.5 per cent 35.0
(N1) Hackney 3,430 49,259 7.0 per cent 37.7
(E40) Waltham Forest 3,211 19,911 16.1 per cent 53.3
(IG1) Redbridge 2,969 32,080 9.3 per cent 46.7
Source: Direct Line Motor Insurance, 2022

The study also revealed that a total of 347 cars are stolen every day across the UK.

Car theft is not distributed evenly throughout the UK, as England and Wales have a higher rate of car theft than the rest of the country, with 203 thefts per 100,000 people compared to 77 in Northern Ireland and 91 in Scotland.

“It is troubling to see the scale of vehicle crime across the UK,” said Lorraine Price, head of motor insurance at Direct Line.

“These are not isolated incidents; every year thousands of cars are stolen, or damaged as criminals break in to take items left in them.

“No matter where you live in the UK, it is important to be vigilant. Simple steps such as ensuring your car is double locked and parked in a well-lit area may help deter a criminal.”

*Vehicle crime is a broad definition used by police forces that defines illegal activity such as theft of a motor vehicle, theft from a motor vehicle, aggravated vehicle taking and interference with a motor vehicle.

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Hotspots for car theft across England and Wales

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
Auto News

Car crime vehicle theft

New research has revealed the regions in England and Wales that see the most – and least – vehicle thefts.

Car insurance experts at Uswitch analysed how car thefts have changed over the last five years by analysing ONS crime and vehicle theft statistics, to reveal the regions with the highest rate of vehicle thefts.

London has the highest rate of vehicle crimes per head with 113.0 reported per 10,000 people.

The West Midlands have the second-highest rate of vehicle crime in England and Wales, with 87.0 crimes per 10,000 people in the area, whilst Greater Manchester places third, with 79.6 reported crimes per 10,000 people.

10 police areas with the highest rate of vehicle crime in England & Wales 

Rank Area  Population (2019) No. Offences to March 21 Vehicle Crime Rate per 10,000
1 London (Metropolitan Police) 8,952,300 101,131 113.0
2 West Midlands 2,928,600 25,470 87.0
3 Greater Manchester 2,835,700 22,568 79.6
4 Bedfordshire 675,000 5,079 75.2
5 South Yorkshire 1,409,000 10,266 72.9
6 Hertfordshire 1,189,500 6,959 58.5
7 Essex 1,846,700 10,392 56.3
8 West Yorkshire 2,332,500 13,086 56.1
9 Warwickshire 577,900 3,210 55.5
10 Northamptonshire 753,300 4,134 54.9

Meanwhile, the area covering the Welsh regions of Dyfed and Powys has the lowest rate of vehicle crime in the country, standing at 12.1 crimes per 10,000 people.

Regions in England and Wales that see the lowest rate of vehicle theft

Rank Area Population (2019) No. Offences to March 21 Vehicle Crime Rate per 10,000
1 Dyfed-Powys 519,700 628 12.1
2 Cumbria 500,000 704 14.1
3 North Wales 699,600 1,061 15.2
4 Devon and Cornwall 1,772,500 3,107 17.5
5 North Yorkshire 828,700 1,534 18.5

The Uswitch study also revealed that from 2016 to 2021, national vehicle crime numbers fell by 8.70% from 365,037 to 336,650.

North Wales has seen the biggest reduction in vehicle crime in the last 5 years, with the number of offences falling by 48.3% to 1,061 in the year to March 2021.

The Metropolitan Police saw the biggest increase in vehicle crime anywhere in the country, with numbers rising by as much as 22.1%.

Since Covid-19, vehicle crime has reduced nationwide by 27.13% with over 100,000 fewer crimes being recorded during the first year of the pandemic.

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4 Tips To Prevent The Possibility of Keyless Car Theft

Keyless theft, also known as Relay Theft, is when a thief hacks the keys to a ‘keyless entry’ car through a device from outside the victim’s house. 

In this kind of theft, all that a thief needs is to be close to the sensor key and he can easily hack its signal to unlock your car and drive away. 

That said, it is important to know that there are two kinds of keys – one that has a button to unlock and the second, keys with sensors that unlock your car as soon as you reach near the doors. 

Typically, in a relay theft, it is the key with sensors that is a risk; so much so that a thief only needs to be a few meters away from the key to hack the key using ‘relay’ equipment. 

It hardly takes them 20-30 seconds to do this, thus, you need to undertake certain measures on your end to prevent the possibilities of keyless car theft. 

So without further ado, let’s look at some of these measures! 

1. Use Faraday Pouches 

Ideally, if you have a keyless car entry, you should make sure that you keep those keys away from the doors and windows to not give away any opportunities to the thief to steal. 

Alternatively, you can store your keys in a box, bag or pouch to keep the sensors intact and avoid keyless thefts. Remember to do this with all spare keys too. 

This is where Faraday pouches come in – they are specially designed to block access to these signals from transmitting the embedded system to your car unless you remove the keys from it. 

The secret is in its making; it’s lined with metallic material which protects the keys. 

All in all, a simple investment in Signal blocking pouches or faraday pouches will help you to avoid your car getting stolen. 

2. Use a Steering Wheel Lock or Car Alarms 

With the advances in the best automotive security service providers, we are lucky to have ample alternatives when one system doesn’t work for your car. 

One of them being Steering wheel locks – they are common but effective, in a way that even if the thief manages to break into this lock, it still buys you time to take necessary actions. 

Similarly, with car alarms, once your security system realises the presence of an outside intruder, the alarms take over and inform all your neighbourhood about the possible burglary. 

Moreover, modern-day thieves are more technologically affluent, so who knows? Having installed visual securities, i.e. steering wheel locks can completely work in your favour. 

3. Reprogramme Timely

Forgetfulness is a common human trait, so time and again you need to be on your feet with everything that happens around you. 

Simply put, especially in cases where you have bought a second-hand keyless car, you need to reprogram its encryption to avoid car thefts. 

It is also possible that you have not been provided with all the sets of keys, so make sure you ask the seller to provide you with all of them at the time of purchase. 

Lastly, make sure that you get your keys reprogrammed from an expert and experienced service provider for safe results. 

4. Park Defensively 

Parking defensively is the minimum that you should do for securing your car from your end. If you’re parking your car in the garage for the entire night, you’re acing it! 

However, in all honesty, people do tend to park their cars in driveways more often than you can think of. In this case, make sure you are parking your car close to your property, to have quick accessibility if required and for difficult access for the thief. 

To Sum Up… 

Car thefts in general are not in human control. All you can do is try to take as many proactive steps as possible to make sure it doesn’t happen to you. 

Along with the points being mentioned above, make sure you do the bare minimum. This includes locking the car properly when you leave the car, not keeping any gadgets inside the parked car, having necessary security cameras installed near your house and timely maintenance of all the mandatory security systems.

Do you live in a UK car theft hotspot?

Gareth Herincx

3 days ago
Auto News

Vehicle crime and car theft

Make sure you take steps to protect your vehicle – especially if you live in London and you drive one of Britain’s most popular cars.

Co-op Insurance has carried out a four-year study based on actual claims and nine out of the Top 10 car theft postcodes are located in London.

Top 20 UK vehicle theft hotspots (by frequency of claims)

1.        Lambeth
2.        Kensington and Chelsea
3.        Ealing
4.        Southwark
5.        Lewisham
6.        Wandsworth
7.        Greenwich
8.        Hounslow
9.        Watford
10.     Westminster
11.     Hammersmith and Fulham
12.     Three Rivers
13.     Preston
14.     Slough
15.     Spelthorne
16.     Stevenage
17.     Barking and Dagenham
18.     Havering
19.     Peterborough
20.     Southampton
*Co-op Insurance, 2016-2020

The research also revealed the makes and models of cars most targeted by criminals, with popular family cars (Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsa) heading the list.

“Having your car stolen is one of the most distressing experiences a person can endure and sadly, it is still something that blights everyday life, particularly in our cities,” said Paul Evans, head of motor insurance at Co-op Insurance.

“Our claims data shows that car crime rates in London have remained continuously high, but it’s interesting to see that places like Preston and Stockport are also emerging hotspots in the North.”

Top 10 cars with a theft claim reported (as a % of total theft claims)

1.        Ford Fiesta
2.        Ford Focus
3.        Vauxhall Corsa
4.        Vauxhall Astra
5.        Volkswagen Golf
6.        Land Rover Evoque
7.        Land Rover Discovery
8.        Audi A3
9.        Mercedes C Class
10.     Audi A4
*Co-op Insurance, 2016-2020

TV consumer champion and former car dealer, Dominic Littlewood, added: “Whether our cars are parked on the driveway or in an urban car park, they are vulnerable to car thieves who are becoming increasingly well organised in targeting the vehicles on their wish list.

“There are a number of really simple steps that car owners can take to make sure their vehicle doesn’t look so appealing – from simply turning your car wheels to face the kerb and investing in some simple deterrents like steering wheel locks.

“And don’t think it won’t happen to you, cheaper makes and models are becoming more attractive than ever to thieves. It’s also important to get the right car insurance in place so if the worst does happen, you’ll get the money to buy another car quickly and conveniently.”

 Find out the car crime rates in your area – https://www.coop.co.uk/insurance/hub/park-smart.

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