Which areas are most affected by car theft?

Is your town in the Top 10?

In recent weeks, we’ve been raising the alarm on the sheer volume of keyless car thefts in the UK. As thieves develop more efficient and advanced strategies, vehicle theft has skyrocketed. Car theft in England and Wales in the year to 2023 was at its highest level for more than a decade, with a total of 130,521 motor vehicle thefts.

Why has car theft become so prevalent? Have you heard of ‘relay attacks’?

Keyless car theft (known as a ‘relay attack’) is a growing concern in the UK, with thieves using sophisticated technology to hijack keyless entry systems. It can take them as little as 60 seconds to hack into your car and drive away – without ever accessing your physical key!

It’s shockingly simple for thieves to steal your car nowadays. From relay attacks and OBD-key cloning, to tried and tested skeleton keys to target manual door locks. Failing that, the brute force of smashing a window to gain access to your car, or home to pinch your keys, will do the trick.

And even if your vehicle isn’t ‘keyless’, don’t assume you won’t be targeted. With new strategies being constantly devised, we all need to stay vigilant.

Which areas in the UK are most targeted by car thieves?

Car theft is happening across the UK, but there are a few standout spots. The latest UK Government data shows that Brentwood, Essex, is the most targeted area for car thefts, during the last financial year, with 1.84 incidents per 1,000 of its population.

Next on the list is Walsall, a West Midlands market town, which has 1.39 car thefts per 1,000 people. Rounding out the top three is Solihull, with a close 1.33 car thefts per 1,000 residents.

In fact, the Top 10 shows a real concentration around Essex and the West Midlands.

Where has car theft got worse?

Across the UK we’ve seen year-on-year increases in car thefts, especially in the last couple of years. During 2022-23, there were more than 128,000 cars stolen, a staggering 19% increase on the prior year.

Over the past year, Eastbourne, on the south coast, has had the largest spike in car thefts since 2015, with an average increase of 28%. Lichfield comes in second, with a 26% rise over the last nine years, while the Staffordshire Moorlands are third with 20%.

Block the break-in

Here at Howden, we’re stepping up to address this issue head-on by providing a simple yet effective tool: the faraday pouch. These specially designed pouches block signals from key fobs, preventing unauthorised access to vehicles. 

We believe in proactive protection, beyond your insurance policy. So the advice remains to store your car keys away from windows and doors at home and equip yourself with a faraday pouch. But these precautions can also contribute to a more affordable insurance premium.

To claim your free Faraday pouch and learn more about protecting your vehicle, simply pop into your Howden branch.

Sources: ADT, BBC News, Gov.UK

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