Analysis of stolen and recovered car theft data has revealed 25% more vehicles are stolen in the winter months than in the summer.
Car tracking firm Tracker has crunched the numbers and discovered that as the months get colder and darker, stolen vehicle rates get higher.
This is because of a combination of factors, including opportunist thieves carrying out thefts in the dark because there’s less chance of them being caught in the act.
Owners leaving the keys in iced-over cars ticking over on their driveway while they go back indoors for a warming cuppa is another reason.
Andy Barrs, head of police liaison at Tracker said: “January especially is a peak month for thefts as it’s when we typically experience harsh frosty mornings; drivers often leave cars unattended for a few minutes whilst de-icing which presents itself as a prime opportunity for criminal gangs.”
Thieves exploit the change in the weather, he said – which is why motorists should be extra-vigilant now the clocks have gone back and the evenings are darker.
Barrs has some top tips for motorists worried about car theft, including simple things like hiding belongings in the boot, parking in well-lit areas, keeping your eyes peeled for CCTV cameras you can park next to and, on modern cars with keyless ignition, always making sure you have the keys on you.
“Never leave the car documents or spare keys inside the car,” he added. “This only makes it easier for thieves to sell it on.”