Vehicle thefts increased in the first half of the year as lockdown restrictions began to be lifted, according to new data from Tracker.
The volume of theft activity had increased by almost a third (32%) by the end of June, compared to the start of the year, it says, with Range Rover and Land Rover models remaining the top choice among criminals.
Tracker recovered more than £4.2 million-worth of stolen vehicles from January to June, of which 4x4s accounted for £2.6m.
The highest value car stolen and recovered during this period was a Range Rover Sport worth £94,000 in May, with Range Rover and Land Rover models accounting for 29% of the total stolen vehicles recovered by Tracker in the six months.
“Our latest figures show that – just like in 2020 – as prolonged periods of lockdown eased, theft of vehicles increased,” said Clive Wain, head of police liaison for Tracker.
“May was a particularly busy month for criminals who made up for lost time. The total value of vehicles we recovered in May was almost three times higher than in January, with an average vehicle value of more than £31,000, compared to just £13,000 in the first month of the year.”
KEYLESS CARS TARGTED
Keyless cars also continue to be frequently targeted by criminals. Tracker’s latest data reports that 92% of the stolen cars it recovered January to June were taken by tech-savvy thieves compromising the signal from the vehicle’s key fob.
Added to this, insurers have revealed that keyless vehicles account for almost half of all reported ‘theft of vehicle’ claims.
The exploitation of keyless technology by criminals has become such a concern for police that the UK’s top police officer responsible for investigating vehicle crime recently issued a nationwide warning encouraging owners to better protect their vehicles.
Provisional figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) show a 3.1% increase between May 2021 and June 2021 in vehicle crime, with a large part of this increase from keyless theft.
Wain continued: “Now that almost all restrictions have formally lifted, all car owners need to be aware of the risk and take steps to protect their vehicles, beyond relying on a factory-fitted alarm.
“Visible physical deterrents that help dissuade many would-be criminals include alarm systems, wheel clamps and steering locks.
“Those with keyless entry vehicles also need to safeguard their key fob, for example, keeping them inside a metal container that blocks the key’s signal so it cannot be extended to remotely unlock and start the vehicle.
“Unfortunately, even with multi-layers of protection against theft in place, the most experienced thieves and organised criminal gangs will take measures to bypass barriers if the potential payoff is worthwhile.
“Once a vehicle is stolen, a Tracker device is the best possible way to help the police quickly locate and recover it before it is broken down for parts or sold on.”
Separate research from research from Verizon Connect suggests that stolen vehicles or equipment costs fleet-based businesses an average of £12,250 each year.
For businesses with more than 100 vehicles, the cost is even higher, with the data suggesting fleets lose, on average, £21,000 each year.