Some 6,000 cars were stolen in 2022, up 11% from the year before, latest figures from car crime monitoring body LIV show.
However, car theft is still at a lower level than in 2019 and 2020 when 7,100 and 6,400 cars respectively were reported stolen.
LIV said the lower 2021 figure was mostly down to the pandemic. The curfew which was in place during a large part of 2021 also prevented car thieves from going out, the organisation said.
Some 45% of the cars that were stolen last year were recovered.
The Toyota RAV 4 is the most popular car among car thieves, followed by the Ford C-Max, Focus and Fiesta. Electric/hybrid vehicle theft went up by 74% to 1,002 cars. Most of these were also Toyotas.
Older cars proved popular too. Some 27% of all stolen cars were between three and five years old.
‘Combating vehicle crime is a shared responsibility of manufacturers, owners and insurers,’ LIV manager Rudi Welling said. Welling cited recent American research which showed that several car makes are easy to hack. ‘There is clearly a role for manufacturers to up the cybersecurity of the cars,’ Welling said.
At the same time older cars often have no security at all and that too should be tackled, Prevention is still the best cure,’ he said.
Cars stolen by criminal gangs are often stripped for parts within hours of the theft, or are taken abroad, research by LIV has shown. Fast cars are often stolen to be used in so-called high impact crimes, such as attacks on ATMs.
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