Car theft convictions sink to below 7%

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that fewer than 7% of reported car thefts result in anyone being charged.

Meanwhile, nearly seven in 10 (69%) cases are dropped because a suspect can’t be identified.

The request was made by dash camera specialist Nextbase, with 39 police forces responding. Data provided showed that 396,000 car crimes were reported between 2019 and 2022, with only 6.7% ending in a charge.

Meanwhile, a survey of 2,000 drivers carried out by Nextbase found that 51% of drivers rely on their car alarms for security, 25% said they park their vehicles in safe place to reduce the risk of crime, while 23% keep their key fobs away from doors and windows to prevent them being cloned.

Dr. Ken Tindell, chief technology officer at automotive security software company Canis Automotive Labs, said: “The image many people have of car thieves breaking windows and hot-wiring cars is totally out of date. With the latest theft techniques the criminal can relay the wireless messages from the driver’s key fob all the way to the car – telling it to unlock itself and deactivate its immobiliser. Or they clone a key fob to tell the car that the thief is the legitimate driver.

“These techniques can let the thief drive away in seconds, without raising any alarm, before a car owner would have any idea what was going on.”