1 in 5 stolen cars taken using looted keys
A new Freedom of Information request has revealed 22% of stolen cars are taken using keys acquired through burglary or robbery.
This equates to more than 28,500 stolen vehicles a year being taken by thieves who looted their own car keys.
Specialist loss adjustor Claims Management & Adjusting submitted the Freedom of Information request.
It says that for car insurers, the figures provide hard evidence that despite the huge focus on sophisticated keyless techniques like relay attacks, many criminals are still using more rudimentary and opportunistic methods.
These range from trying door handles on the off-chance, or reaching through a window and swiping keys from a worktop, to targeting certain houses specifically for the cars on the driveway. There is the risk of nastier, more violent crimes too.
"It is a reminder that good old-fashioned precautions like keeping house and car doors locked, hiding keys out of sight, and fitting trackers, are as valid as ever," says CMA MD Philip Swift – a former police detective.
The total number of vehicles stolen rose by a shocking 25% last year, to 130,389, according to the Office of National Statistics.
What’s more, data from Kent Police indicates that just two of 622 car theft allegations were ‘no crimed’ last year – meaning they were cancelled due to new evidence suggesting something was awry.
Swift said the figures made him wonder if any investigation was actually taking place.
"Their lack of MO recording, and apparent aversion to transparency, does them no favours. Even in Nottinghamshire, one of the better constabularies in this regard, ‘no crimes’ are down by around 50% year-on-year. It’s a worrying trend," adds Swift
The claims expert adds he welcomes the Home Secretary’s recent statement that there is no such thing as a minor crime and the police must follow every reasonable line of enquiry.
"With car insurance premiums soaring, we urgently need to see those words transformed into action."