A freedom of information investigation has revealed that nearly 240,000 cars were broken into across the UK in 2016 – a rise of four percent compared to a year earlier.
The data, obtained from 42 police forces by RAC Insurance, reveals that the City of London saw the biggest boom in break-ins, with motorists reporting a jump of 76 percent from 46 to 81. Police in Northamptonshire received 4,043 reports of break-ins (a rise of 41 percent compared to 2015), while Wiltshire and Dyfed-Powys police both reported a 23 percent increase.
In total, 26 police forces – more than half of those in England, Scotland and Wales – saw more thefts from cars in 2016 than a year before.
“It is very worrying to see that more than half of British police forces have witnessed a rise in this type of crime from 2015 to 2016,” said RAC Insurance’s director Mark Godfrey.
“Breaking into cars to steal things causes motorists no end of headaches. Not only do they lose and have to try to replace their valued possessions, most will have to make an insurance claim to get their car repaired. While this can be a time-consuming and stressful process in itself, its effects will unfortunately be felt for years to come with increased annual premiums and having to declare the claim for three years whenever arranging a new car insurance policy.”
The RAC says that many car break-ins are opportunistic, with criminals on the look-out for items they can sell on quickly and easily. Many drivers are becoming complacent, says the organisation’s insurance firm, thinking nothing of leaving items like satnavs on display.
Godfrey added: “The fact remains that every time a driver leaves a valuable item clearly on display they are running the risk of becoming a car crime victim. So the old advice of making sure nothing of value is left on display inside a car is still as valid as ever, but it is also important when parking in public places to try to opt for well-lit and well-used spots so as to make it harder for criminals to break in without being seen.
“Anyone unlucky enough to suffer a vehicle break-in should report it to the police as soon as possible and obtain a crime reference number which will assist with the subsequent insurance claim.”
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