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Vehicle break-ins increase year-on-year, says RAC Insurance

Vehicle break-ins.

Nearly a quarter of a million vehicles were broken into in 2016, with 26 police forces – more than half of all those in England, Scotland and Wales – seeing more thefts from cars than the previous year, according to data seen by RAC Insurance.

A total of 239,920 vehicle break-ins were reported to 42 police forces – 8,698 more than in 2015 (231,222), representing a 4% increase. However, this is a 9% reduction on 2013 when there were 263,574 thefts from vehicles.

Responses to a freedom of information request made by RAC Insurance reveal that the City of London constabulary saw the largest rise with a 76% increase (46 to 81).

Northamptonshire experienced the second greatest rise with 41% (2,864 to 4,043). Wiltshire Police (1,680 to 2,074) and Dyfed-Powys (446 to 549) were joint third with a 23% increase.

Of the 15 forces that recorded reductions in thefts from vehicles from 2015 to 2016 Cheshire Constabulary saw the largest fall in such crimes with 19% fewer (2,827 to 2,284). Cumbria’s numbers for the offence went down by 11% (780 to 697) and North Wales Police’s by 10% (1,326 to 1,187).

Comparing the data from 2013 and 2016 the City of London also had the highest uplift in thefts from vehicles with an increase of 29% (63 to 81). West Midlands Police experienced a 21% rise (15,261 to 18,396) and Northamptonshire a 16% uplift (3,480 to 4,043).

When looking at the largest reduction over the three-year period Cheshire topped the table again with a 45% drop (4,185 to 2,284). North Wales Police had the second biggest reduction on 33% (1,778 to 1,187) and Durham the third on 32% (2,687 to 1,840). 

RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey said: “Some may believe the fact a vehicle is alarmed makes it safe, but unfortunately this is not the case as very few people respond to the sound of a car alarm, perhaps because so many seem to go off for no apparent reason which in itself can be a tactic used by thieves.”

Godfrey believes that, with lots of drivers using their smartphones as satnavs, there is a higher probability of accidentally leaving a phone in a cradle and giving a thief a great opportunity to profit.

“The fact remains that every time a driver leaves a valuable item clearly on display they are running the risk of becoming a car crime victim,” he said. “So the old advice of making sure nothing of value is left on display inside a car is still as valid as ever, but it is also important when parking in public places to try to opt for well-lit and well used spots so as to make it harder for criminals to break in without being seen.

“Anyone unlucky enough to suffer a vehicle break-in should report it to the police as soon as possible and obtain a crime reference number which will assist with the subsequent insurance claim.”

Drivers looking for advice on how to avoid being a victim of car crime can look at the RAC’s online guide.

Police forces with largest increase in break-ins from 2015 to 2016

Rank

Police Force

Reported thefts from vehicles

 

 

Percentage change

   

2013

2014

2015

2016

2015 to 2016

1

City of London Police

63

99

46

81

76%

2

Northamptonshire Police

3480

2803

2864

4043

41%

3

Wiltshire Police

2349

1842

1680

2074

23%

4

Dyfed-Powys Police

702

708

446

549

23%

5

Lancashire Constabulary

6187

5778

5440

6382

17%

Police forces with largest increase in break-ins from 2013 to 2016

Rank

Police Force

Reported thefts from vehicles

 

 

 

Percentage change

   

2013

2014

2015

2016

2013 to 2016

1

City of London Police

63

99

46

81

29%

2

West Midlands Police

15261

15949

16563

18396

21%

3

Northamptonshire Police

3480

2803

2864

4043

16%

4

Cambridgeshire Constabulary

3326

2957

3318

3860

16%

5

Leicestershire Police

5511

5375

6697

6327

15%

 

 


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