Car theft is a big concern for drivers, particularly if you own a specialist or classic car which you’re very fond of. Tracker, a vehicle anti-theft company who provide tracking devices for cars, motorbikes, mobile homes and other specialist vehicles, released results recently which pinpoint some of the locations in the UK which are the most vulnerable to theft. Though car theft is down to around 69,500, which is the lowest it has been in 50 years, classic car theft is still prevalent.
Areas with the highest amount of vehicle theft:
1- Greater London
London has managed to hold onto its top spot as the area suffering most with car theft crimes. The densely populated city continues to be the most popular spot for vehicle theft.
2- Greater Manchester
Manchester takes the second place on the list. The position was previously held by Essex, although now studies have shown that Manchester is creeping up the charts - with Mercedes Benz appearing to be particularly prominent targets in the area.
3- West Midlands
The West Midlands is also shown to be a very high risk area for car theft, particularly in Birmingham, which has remained at third place for the second year in a row.
Essex used to have a very popular street racing scene, which still holds some popularity today. It is thought that this may explain part of what makes this destination so attractive for thieves.
A particular hotspot for classic car thefts, Kent is an obvious target for thieves due to its easy access to the rest of Europe - giving thieves the opportunity to potentially export a stolen vehicle to the continent relatively quickly.
Staines is thought to be one of the worst locations within the area for car theft, recording around 163 thefts for every 10,000 registered vehicles. The county is also very close to London, which could explain part of the reason why Surrey has a high vehicle theft rate in comparison to the rest of England.
7- West Yorkshire
West Yorkshire is home to far more rural areas than some other locations in the chart, which can lead potential thieves to think that there will be less policing - and that criminals can sometimes go under the radar for longer.
Similarly to Essex, Hertforshire’s main car crime activity is located around the areas closest to London, feeding off from the capital’s issues with car thefts. Rural areas in the county are much safer, especially as you move further away from London.
One of the highest spots for car theft in the north of England, Merseyside includes Liverpool within its boundaries - which is one of the higher risk areas for car theft.
In tied tenth position, Lancashire and Leicestershire both have high levels of vehicle crime, with Leicestershire creeping into the top 10 after not appearing last year.
The results offer an interesting view of which places offer the most risk to car owners in terms of theft. Rural counties like Surrey and West Yorkshire stand out amongst the more urban areas of London and Manchester, and it is also interesting to note that crime is spread fairly evenly between locations in the North and South of England.
Even if you spot your home county on this list, it doesn't mean that you need to run out and spend a ton of cash on securing your garage. Tracker are keen to point out that though theft remains a problem, it is on the decline - and advances in technology and surveillance means that returning lost vehicles has seen a 12% increase in vehicles being returned to their owners.
For classic car owners however there does seem to be a trend of classic models being targeted by thieves, particularly in the Kent area. According to International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI), 1980’s classic cars, motorbikes, vans and camper-vans are all being targeted.
One of the reasons for Kent being a hotspot for this kind of theft is considered to be its access to the English Channel and Europe in general. Another factor is most likely the weaker security systems which were included in older models, providing little protection from modern thieves. The IAATI is urging owners of classic cars to invest in alarms, engine immobilisers or tracking devices, or explore options such as new DNA invisible markings.