Fleet News

Fleet cars targeted in 'smash and grab' raids

THIEVES are increasingly targeting fleet vehicles to steal mobile phones, cash and credit cards – with the number of incidents involving company cars increasing by 20% in the last year.

The number of 'smash and grab' incidents, known as car muggings, when thieves search for personal belongings, has now reached 2.5 million a year. The typical cost of a single vehicle theft dents fleet budgets by more than £500.

Nigel Doggett, managing director of Autoglass, which carried out the study, said: 'This is one of the UK's fastest growing crime trends and fleet managers must remind their drivers not to be complacent.

'Too many are still not taking basic steps to protect themselves and are leaving on show exactly the kind of valuables, mobile phones, laptops and credit cards that tempt thieves.'

'Fleet management budgets are paying the price with higher insurance premiums and increased vehicle downtime.'

The Autoglass 10th annual car crime report has indicated that car theft has increased from 343,000 to 415,000 incidents in the past 12 months. There are now nearly four times as many car break-ins as street robberies.

Doggett added: 'Car muggings have emerged at a time when fleet drivers appear to be taking their eye off car security. It's up to fleet managers to ensure that defeatism does not set in and that their drivers take responsibility for their vehicles and valuables.'

A report published by the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) last year also noted a surge in vehicle crime, stating that vehicle thefts from rental customers had reached their highest level for six years as thieves targeted keys to bypass sophisticated security systems (Fleet NewsNet August 15, 2002).

Fact file: key car crime findings

  • 20% of fleet drivers don't have a car alarm system
  • 80% of fleet victims report incidents to the police but less than 10% expect anyone to be charged
  • 90% of fleet drivers do not believe the Government is doing enough to fight car crime
  • 80% of fleet motorists say the police need more resources
    Source: Autoglass 10th annual car crime report

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