General Insurance Article - Motorists warned to prepare for escalating car crime

With figures published by the RAC Insurance confirming a 56% leap in vehicle thefts over four years[i], stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) expert Tracker is warning drivers that the figures could be significantly higher for 2020. New car production ground to a hold as a result of the global epidemic, causing delays to the supply chain and creating a shortage of spare parts. A pent-up demand for both new cars and parts is likely to increase values and boost trade for criminals stealing to fill the gap.

 Clive Wain, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker commented: “Even before the UK’s lockdown, police across the country were fighting an increasing number of ‘chop-shops’ – where vehicles are stolen, and their valuable parts sold on as spares. Delays within the legitimate supply chain caused by manufacturers being forced to close, and then reopen with lower capacity, are bound to increase the popularity and profitability of these criminal organisations.

 The RAC Insurance made a freedom of information request to all English, Scottish and Welsh Police forces, and found that more than 150,000 vehicles had been stolen across the regions from 2018 to 2019, up 10,000 on the previous year and almost 55,000 higher than four years earlier – an increase of 56%. The Metropolitan Police reported a 46% increase, although the City of London Police saw thefts fall slightly. But it was other areas across the UK that reported the highest increases, including the West Midlands (up 121%), Suffolk (up 172%) and Surrey (up 133%).

 Clive Wain continued: “Our own stolen and recovered figures mirror the RAC Insurance’s findings, with the biggest increases in London and the surrounding counties, as well as the West Midlands. We expect to see increases across all regions when the 2020 figures come out next year, due to the impact lockdown has had on manufacturing. Whilst we face the increased risk, drivers must take precautions to better-protect their vehicles from opportunistic criminals.

 Before stolen cars are taken to chop-shops for dismantling by criminals, they are often left unattended at an unconnected location for up to four days in case they are being tracked. If preventative security measures are not successful and a vehicle is stolen, a Tracker device is invaluable in locating and recovering a stolen car. With a successful recovery rate of 95%, Tracker significantly increases the chances of a stolen car being returned to its rightful owner.


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