The investigation found that the scourge of car crime now costs Britain more than one billion pounds a year – an increase of almost 40% on last year – and that fleet drivers are among the hardest hit.
The 11th annual Autoglass car crime report found that two-thirds of fleet drivers appear to have given up the battle against smash and grab car crooks, believing there is little or nothing that can be done.
Managing director Nigel Doggett, said: ‘With car crooks making almost as much money as Britain’s most profitable retailer, Tesco, fleet managers are paying dearly for their drivers’ complacency.
‘Too many fleet drivers are still tempting thieves by leaving on show exactly the kind of valuables they target - in fact three times as many fleet drivers have had laptops stolen this year compared with last year.
‘That leaves their managers paying the price for increased insurance premiums, lost business time and more downtime.
‘For the fleet driver, the inconvenience involved in a car crime attack added to the hassle of replacing equipment, important files and, perhaps even, sensitive client information should be enough of an incentive to take more care.’
The study of car crime victims found that more than a quarter (27%) of fleet drivers have not fitted alarms to their cars and 45% have not changed their habits since their vehicles were targeted.
Also, one in four (29%) of fleet vehicle’s attacked are broken into with an hour of parking. The number of fleet victims having laptops stolen has increased over the past year from 8% to 24%.
Despite this, only 45% of motorists report car crime attacks to the police and, of those who do, nine in 10 fleet victims don’t expect anyone to be charged.
Fleet drivers would like to see car criminals sentenced to at least two years in prison if they are caught. Autoglass has sent a copy of its report to Home Secretary David Blunkett highlighting the fact that attacks on cars will rise by 22% because of darker evenings caused by the clocks going back this weekend.
Doggett said: ‘These results will make disturbing reading for fleet managers, who are all too aware that a car crime attack is far more than just an inconvenience and is a direct hit to their bottom line.
‘We’re urging managers to take action now to remind drivers that taking their eyes off car security leaves an open door for crooks.’