Vehicle crime accounts for 25% of all recorded crime and costs more then £3 billion a year. The Home Office's most recent vehicle crime statistics show that in 1997/98, there were 1,096,022 offences, of which 695,498 were thefts from vehicles and 400,524 were thefts of vehicles. The report 'Tackling Vehicle Crime - A Five Year Strategy' reveals that older vehicles are more at risk. The fitting of immobilisers on new cars from about 1992, which became compulsory under European law from 1998, is seen as the major catalyst in thieves switching their attention away from newer company cars.
Statistics reveal there is a marked decline in the number of vehicles stolen registered from 1994 and while vehicle crime is the largest single category of recorded crime, it is at its lowest level since 1989. As a result, the report concentrates on new initiatives aimed at reducing the theft of older cars and thefts from those vehicles. The measures include possible legislation to compel motorists to fit immobilisers to older vehicles.