More than 210,000 car owners suffered criminal vandalism in 2016, new figures from the RAC have revealed – a 10 percent increase in three years.
For those living in Greater Manchester, the figures are even worse: a freedom of information request to the police force showed a 37 percent increase in car vandalism in three years. It’s the area with the greatest number of damaged cars outside London.
Car vandalism also increased 25 percent in Hertfordshire and West Yorkshire, with Northumbria recording a 22 percent rise.
A total of 24 police forces reported a rise in criminal damage reported by motorists – double the number that said criminal damaged had fallen.
“In reality, however, the overall figure for the number of vehicles vandalised is probably far higher,” said RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey, “as many motorists may neither report it to the police nor claim on insurance for fear of causing their next insurance premium to go up.”
There’s little motorists can do to prevent it either, he admitted. But there are “a few basic precautions that can be taken to limit the chances of it happening. During the day, try to park in well used areas and at night go for well-lit streets away from pubs and clubs if at all possible, and if you have access to a garage, use it.
“It’s also good advice to use car parks that carry the ‘Park Mark’ Safer Parking symbol which means there are measures in place to ensure the safety of people and vehicles.”
And if you do suffer car vandalism, added Godfrey, “take pictures of it, report it to the police and get a crime reference number as this will help with any subsequent insurance claim.”