Car thefts across the re­gion al­most dou­ble in 5 years

Solihull News - - FLICKR - DEB­ORA ARU Staff Re­porter

CAR thefts in West Mid­lands have more than dou­bled in just five years – with mo­torists’ groups warn­ing cuts in po­lice num­bers meant crim­i­nals could be get­ting away with it.

A to­tal of 8,705 cars were stolen in the West Mid­lands po­lice force area in 2017/ 18.

That com­pares with 4,037 cars stolen in 2013/ 14.

The fig­ures were ob­tained un­der Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion laws.

They show the num­ber of cars stolen has been ris­ing, year- on- year, for at least the last five years.

RAC in­sur­ance spokesman Si­mon Wil­liams said: “These rise in thefts is a cause for con­cern and demon­strates that de­spite the in­creas­ing so­phis­ti­ca­tion of mod­ern car se­cu­rity sys­tems, crim­i­nal groups are con­tin­u­ing to find ways around them.

“We do have a con­cern that the de­clin­ing num­ber of po­lice of­fi­cers could be re­sult­ing in less in­ves­ti­ga­tion of mo­tor crime like this, some­thing that could be solved by forces hav­ing greater re­sources at a time when car crime is on the up.

“Aside from the ob­vi­ous im­pact on vic­tims of car theft, it’s a fact ev­ery driver pays for this type of crime through higher in­sur­ance poli­cies.”

The data also shows the car makes that were most likely to be stolen in the West Mid­lands.

Of the 8,705 cars taken by thieves in 2017/ 18, 2,931 were Fords.

A fur­ther 681 were Vaux­halls, 673 were Mercedes, 620 were BMWs and 564 were Audis. Among the stolen cars there were also Volk­swa­gens ( 439), Hon­das ( 430) and Peu­geots ( 302). Nis­sans ( 257) and Re­naults ( 213) com­plete the top 10.

The num­bers don’t mean those makes are nec­es­sar­ily eas­ier to steal or more vul­ner­a­ble – they might just be more pop­u­lar in West Mid­lands.

Of the 27 po­lice forces in Eng­land and Wales who sup­plied data, all of them had seen car thefts in­crease in 2017/ 18 com­pared to 2016/ 17.

In to­tal, across all the forces, there were 57,781 cars stolen in 2017/ 18, up from 46,704 the year be­fore.

Po­lice rec­om­mend keep­ing keys safe, out of view when at home, and away from your front door.

They also say when not us­ing an elec­tronic key, it should be kept in a se­cu­rity pouch to pre­vent it be­ing scanned. Deputy As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Gra­ham McNulty, Na­tional Po­lice Chiefs’ Coun­cil lead for ve­hi­cle crime, said: “Po­lice forces con­tinue to work with key part­ners in­clud­ing the Home Of­fice, the Na­tional Crime Agency and ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers to iden­tify and ad­dress cur­rent crime trends, de­sign- out crime, in­crease se­cu­rity and im­prove the pro­cesses around the ac­qui­si­tions and dis­posal of ve­hi­cles.

“Mean­while lo­cal of­fi­cers pro­vide sim­ple and ef­fec­tive preven­tion ad­vice based on the par­tic­u­lar type of crime seen most in their area.”

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