Vehicle thefts in England and Wales have shot up by almost a third (30%) over a three year period, according to figures released as part of a Freedom of Information request by motoring organisation the RAC.
The data shows that across 40 police forces, 85,688 vehicles were reported stolen in 2016, rising from 65,783 in 2013.
Responding to the figures, some experts say remote entry systems could be the reason for the significant rise in this type of crime.
AA president Edmund King said: “Traditional methods of car theft, such as taking the keys during a house burglary, remain common, but thieves are also trying their hand at hi-tech methods of stealing cars.
“Modern keyless ‘entry and go’ systems that remove the need to use a mechanical key are designed for drivers’ convenience but have ironically created new opportunities for car thieves.”
The organisation is warning motorists to keep the keys far enough away from the car when at home.
The data shows that London has the highest level of car thefts in the country, with a whopping 26,496 taken in 2016 – around 31% of all those stolen.
The RAC figures also show that West Midlands is second on the list of theft hotspots, with 5,930 vehicles stolen in 2016, rising 43% since 2013.
West Yorkshire has also seen a monstrous rise in this type of crime, up 57% for the three year period, with 5,597 thefts reported.
RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey said: “We fear thieves are now becoming more and better equipped with technology capable of defeating car manufacturers’ anti-theft systems.
“This is bad news for motorists, as it has the effect of causing insurance premiums to rise at a time when they are already being pushed up by a variety of factors, not least the recent change to the discount rate for life-changing personal injury compensation claims and the rises in Insurance Premium Tax.”
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