Stolen vehicles down 70%

The number of vehicles stolen in England and Wales has fallen by 70% in the past decade, according to data released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Latest figures show 69,547 vehicles were stolen last year, compared to 231,323 in 2004. Vehicle theft fell by 1.2%, or 842 incidents, compared with 2013 and the crime is now at its lowest point since 1968. With more than 36 million vehicles on the road, today’s figures show that just 0.2% of all vehicles were stolen in 2014.

The continued reduction in vehicle theft follows a tireless effort by manufacturers to help make vehicles ever more secure. The industry invests billions of pounds each year to ensure it remains at the cutting edge of technology and stays ahead of criminals. The introduction of advanced security systems as standard equipment is also helping to make vehicles harder to steal.

To reduce theft rates further, the automotive industry is urging authorities to collect more detailed data about how vehicles are being stolen. There is currently little nationwide understanding of trends in types of vehicle theft because only a small number of police forces collect and analyse this data. This can lead to skewed public perceptions about the regularity of certain types of vehicle theft across the country.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, ‘Thanks to significant investments by car manufacturers in the latest security systems, vehicle thefts across England and Wales are at the lowest levels for decades. We are, however, calling for better tracking of how different vehicles are stolen so that we have an accurate understanding of how criminals are operating and can develop future technology to eradicate vehicle crime.’

Since 1902, ONS has released data on the number incidents of theft or unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle as part of its quarterly crime statistics report, with data for all previous years from 1898 published by the Home Office.