Crime on the rise as half of police forces report an increase in thefts from cars

Published 10 January 2018

Drivers are being urged to be more vigilant when it comes to security, after half of all police forces reported an increase in thefts from cars.

The RAC submitted freedom of information requests to all 44 police forces in England, Scotland and Wales and found that more than half of the 42 that responded had seen an increase in thefts from vehicles between 2015 and 2016.  

"The old advice of making sure nothing of value is left on display inside a car is still as valid as ever."

A total of 239,920 vehicle break-ins were reported in 2016 - almost 9000 more than 2015 - representing a four per cent increase nationally; although many more are thought to take place each year unrecorded with motorists fearful that the police will not recover their possessions or insurers will use the claim as an excuse to push up premiums.

The City of London Police experienced the largest percentage increase with a surge of 76 per cent compared to 2015; however, with just 81 thefts reported within the Square Mile in 2016, the figures are miniscule compared to Northamptonshire - in second place - which recorded 4043 thefts during the same period of time – up 41 per cent on the year before.

Wiltshire - 2074 thefts - and Dyfed-Powys - 549 thefts - were joint third with a 23 per cent increase while Lancashire was forth with a surge of 17 per cent. 

Biggest increase from 2015 - 2016

Rank Police force Reported number of thefts Percentage change from 2015 - 2016
1

City of London Police

81 +76 per cent
2

Northamptonshire Police

4043 +41 per cent
3

Wiltshire Police

2074 +23 per cent
4

Dyfed-Powys Police

549 +23 per cent
5

Lancashire Constabulary

6382 +17 per cent

At the opposite end of the crime scale was Cheshire, recording a 19 per cent drop, with 2284 break-ins compared to the 2827 in 2015. Cumbria and North Wales also saw notable reductions with a respective decrease -11 and -10 per cent.  

“It is very worrying to see that more than half of British police forces have witnessed a rise in this type of crime from 2015 to 2016. The old advice of making sure nothing of value is left on display inside a car is still as valid as ever," said Mark Godfrey of the RAC.

"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.”

Biggest decrease from 2015 - 2016

Rank Police force Reported number of thefts Percentage change from 2015 - 2016
1

Cheshire Constabulary

2284 -19 per cent
2

Cumbria Constabulary

697 -11 per cent
3

North Wales Police

1187 -10 per cent
4

Dorset Police

2708 -9 per cent
5

Essex Police

7481 -9 per cent

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