We searched at the most popular car brands we were able to collect information on around all 27 of the areas we considered, positioning them by percent drop on a number of thefts in 2009/10 compared with the number of thefts in 2013/14. 

And these are the final results:

Of the 14 most favoured cars, most of them show a decrease.

However, the big information is in the top 10, where all the companies showed at least a 25% drop in thefts.

A Close Look at Producer Trends

Fiat thefts decreased dramatically between 2009 and 2012, but then levelled out somewhat:

… while Volkswagen theft reveals a far more steady decrease over time:

BMW, with the lowest overall thievery percent drop amongst the most popular manufacturers, has also been the most unpredictable over the5- year time period, falling then increasing then falling again:

The 2011/ 12 increase appears to be linked to keyless theft, as there was a specific vulnerability with new models during this period. Steps have since been taken to deal with this, but keyless theft continues to pose challenging to manufacturers and police.

Why Has UK Car Theft Declined?

The trend for decreasing vehicle thievery extends back well beyond the five- year period we analysed, and also fits into a wider landscape of dropping crime rates around the world.

The graph below shows car robberies per 100,000 people in the UK during the 20 years between 1991 and 2011:

So why exactly could it be so much less common to get your car stolen today than it was two decades ago? Experts say it is mainly down to the increasing sophistication of car identification records, crucial verification technologies, and the reduction in the cost of car or truck parts.

Car Theft These Days: The Latest Developments in Keyless Robbery

Thanks to increased car protection, conventional criminal techniques for getting into and stealing cars are pretty much outdated nowadays – but that just means that determined thieves are having to go a little more high- tech and those premium vehicles are increasingly the targets.

Based on this white-colored paper by SBD, an independent, technical consultancy focusing on GPS tracker and vehicle security: “Advances in technologies have made it hard for burglars to steal modern cars through the use of low-technology methods and equipment [and] there is an escalating trend for organised crime groups to use electronic theft tools to get vehicles.” Thieves have found intelligent methods to bypass digital locking systems. A recently available Sky News analysis found that up to 50 % the 89,000 vehicles broken into in London in 2013 were stolen through ‘keyless theft’, where the vehicle is compromised electronically so it may be driven away with no need for the key. And just last week, the Fulfilled Police released Operation Endeavour in response to a rise in theft of cars, believed to be the result of the increase in organised criminals stealing keyless autos by using a device which bypasses the vehicle’s electronic devices. The two charts below, taken from an article by the ACPO Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service, give a feeling of the scale of this new kind of keyless theft compared to other techniques:

These are just two types of manufacturers with a high percentage of keyless theft compared to other methods in 2014, but BMW, Audi and Jaguar Land Rover have gotten particular interest on this issue. 

We spoke to Andy Barrs – Head of Law Enforcement Liaison

There’s, however, a profitable global market for used car parts and vehicles are still sometimes stolen by organised criminals to carry out other crimes. But drivers can take comfort and ease from the fact that, all around, car theft is far less frequent these days than it was five years ago, and opportunist theft, in particular, is increasingly rare.

For insight into national and local vehicle theft trends, and for advice on protecting your vehicle and staying away from becoming a victim of the criminal offence, see part1 of our UK vehicle theft statistics research.

Rewire Security provides high-quality GPS car tracker for your security.

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