Vehicles enable individuals to carry out their daily/weekly routine in a comfortable and time-efficient manner. Whether that be commuting to/from work, doing the school run or visiting the shops. Consequently, as drivers become more and more dependent on cars – they tend to drop their guard and fail to take the simple precautions to protect their vehicle from being targeted by opportunist criminals.
Utilising the latest data derived from ‘data.police.uk’, private number plates provider Click4Reg.co.uk investigated the total number of vehicle crimes that were recorded by 42 police forces/constabularies across England and Wales in 2018. Additionally, the 2018 figures where then compared to those from 2017 – to establish which police forces/constabularies had experienced the biggest increase and decrease in vehicle crime rates.
Vehicle crime per the police is defined as: “theft from or of a vehicle or interference with a vehicle”.
Click4Reg found that the Metropolitan Police had the highest number of vehicle crimes in 2018, at an astonishing 113,014 – the equivalent of 310 incidents a day in the capital and detrimentally, a 9% rise since 2017. West Midlands Police followed, with 37,202 cases of vehicle crimes recorded. In third place was Greater Manchester Police, with 31,845 vehicle crimes reported – a 2% increase from the preceding year (2017 = 31,076).
At the other end, City of London Police had the lowest number of vehicle crimes last year, with only 252 incidences – though a substantial 30% rise from the previous year (2017 = 194). Dyfed-Powys Police had more than four times the number of City of London, with 1,037 vehicle offences. Slightly above Dyfed-Powys Police was Cumbria Constabulary, who had the occurrence of 1,171 vehicle crimes – comparable to three cases each day.
Interestingly, Click4Reg can also reveal that Wiltshire Police had the most notable decrease in year-on-year vehicle crimes at 28%. Figures for 2018, indicate there were 2,850 vehicle crimes compared to 3,949 in 2017.
Contrastingly, Bedfordshire Police adversely experienced the greatest increase in year-on-year vehicle crimes at 35%. Demonstrated by the statistics showing 7,798 vehicle crimes last year, in contrast to the less significant sum of 5,774 during 2017.
Overall, a total of 450,509 vehicle crimes were reported to 42 police forces/constabularies in England and Wales throughout 2018, a 2% surge from the previous year (2017 = 441,366). To put that into context – a shocking prevalence of 1,234 vehicle crimes each day in England and Wales last year.
Elie Fakhoury, the Managing Director of Click4Reg.co.uk commented: “The findings from this research are certainly intriguing. With the overall number of vehicle offences increasing from the prior year, it’s a crime which is really impacting drivers. It’s unfortunate, as many car owners spend a ton of time and money on maintaining all aspects of their vehicle to ensure it runs effortlessly and is road-worthy. Whilst vehicle crime may seem difficult to combat, it is in fact one of the more preventable crimes. Individuals can take a range of cost-effective measures to protect their vehicle from the threat of lurking criminals. For instance, drivers should aim to make actions such as locking doors and removing all valuable items when not in their vehicle a habit. Overall, better caution and attention from the public can go a very long way in drastically reducing the amount of vehicle crimes across England and Wales”.
Click4Reg’s top five tips
Where possible, opt to park facing the wall at home or in public places (e.g. supermarket etc.). With thieves always seeking to make a quick escape – having to reverse will only slow them down, so they are less likely to take the risk if a car is positioned front view towards a wall.
Securing valuable possessions
Remove every single valuable possession out of plain sight when not in the vehicle – especially money, wallets, purses, house keys and watches. Likewise, take or hide in the glove box electronic items such as a portable sat nav and radio faceplate (if detachable).
Awareness of basic and added protection
Make every effort to check and close all windows as well as fully locking the vehicle when leaving it at yours/others property, at work or elsewhere. Furthermore, a reputable car alarm system or an easy-to-fit steering wheel lock (ideal for the new wave of keyless cars) can add a depth of security to your vehicle.
Aim to park your car in an area which has a lot of passing footfall, surrounded by good lighting or is adequately covered by a CCTV. The presence of any one of these factors, is likely to deter unwanted intruders from approaching your vehicle.
Planning for unfamiliar journeys
If you are making a journey to an unfamiliar location, then look to plan-ahead by using an online mapping service to identify any routines/parts/areas which have notoriously high crime rates to avoid driving through them or parking there.