West sees slow rise in theft of ve­hi­cles

Western Daily Press - - News -

THE theft of mo­tor ve­hi­cles in the West hasn’t risen quite as fast as else­where in the coun­try over the past four years, new fig­ures show.

Some 152,541 ve­hi­cles were stolen in Bri­tain in 2018/19 com­pared with 97,609 in 2014/15, ac­cord­ing to police data ob­tained by RAC In­sur­ance.

That equates to a 56 per cent rise – in the West it has risen by 51 per cent. All but three of Bri­tain’s police forces that re­sponded to Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quests recorded an in­crease in thefts over the pe­riod.

The largest rises in terms of ve­hi­cle numbers were in the force ar­eas of Kent (up 12,550 to 40,726), Metropoli­tan Police (up 9,635 to 30,773) and West Mid­lands (up 5,677 to 10,372).

Six forces saw thefts more than dou­ble, in­clud­ing Suf­folk (from 347 to 945), Sur­rey (from 661 to 1,543) and Greater Manch­ester (from 3,018 to 6,223).

Only Lin­colnshire, the City of Lon­don and Police Scot­land recorded a re­duc­tion.

In the West thefts rose in Avon and Som­er­set by 47 per cent (1,574 to 2,316), Devon and Corn­wall by 45 per cent (580 to 839), Dorset by 72 per cent (501 to 864), West Mer­cia by 62 per cent (857 to 1,389) and Wilt­shire by 31 per cent (430 to 563).

Glouces­ter­shire did not pro­vide fig­ures.

RAC In­sur­ance spokesman Si­mon Wil­liams said: “Th­ese fig­ures paint a rather dis­turb­ing pic­ture. Ve­hi­cle thefts are on the rise al­most ev­ery­where, and in some parts of the coun­try numbers are rock­et­ing.

“It’s also not the case that the rises in crime are con­fined to a few larger ur­ban ar­eas, with many police forces cov­er­ing more ru­ral ar­eas also see­ing big in­creases.

“While ve­hi­cle crime is at far lower lev­els to­day than it was in the early 1990s thanks to im­prove­ments in ve­hi­cle se­cu­rity, and the num­ber of ve­hi­cles li­censed to be driven on the UK’s roads is higher than at any point in the past, it’s still con­cern­ing that so many more ve­hi­cles are be­ing stolen than just a few years ago.”

He be­lieves the in­crease is partly due to a rise in thefts of ve­hi­cles that are eas­ier to steal, such as mo­tor­bikes and mopeds which are less likely to have im­mo­bilis­ers.

Gov­ern­ment data shows that thieves use a key in nearly half of in­ci­dents, in­di­cat­ing that many driv­ers can do more to pro­tect their ve­hi­cles.

Mr Wil­liams went on: “While or­gan­ised crim­i­nal gangs are re­spon­si­ble for a large pro­por­tion of crime, thieves will also be op­por­tunis­tic in na­ture so the more a driver can do to make their car a less likely tar­get the bet­ter.”

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