Surrey has been named the UK’s worst area for car thefts, ahead of locations in Scotland and England’s south-west.
The latest figures from Co-op Insurance reveal that there has been a 35 per cent increase in car thefts since 2013, with drivers in the English county most likely to fall victim.
Behind it in the latest list of trouble spots is Glasgow, just ahead of Dorset, Bristol and North Yorkshire.
The insurer’s data also reveals the most-stolen brands, with Dodge coming out as the most targeted make among its customers.
Land Rover, with a range of desirable high-end SUVs, is the second most-stolen make, with other premium brands such as Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW also in the top 10 of targets.
UK areas with the most motor thefts:
- North Yorkshire
- East Riding of Yorkshire
Perhaps contributing to an increasing number of motor thefts, research reveals that a quarter of UK adults would ignore the sound of a car alarm in their neighbourhood.
The Co-op data found, unsurprisingly, that more than half (56 per cent) of stolen vehicles were parked on a road, while just over a quarter (28 per cent) were taken from a driveway. And the deterrant effect of keeping a car in a garage appears to work, with only three per cent of cars taken from inside one.
Most common car makes being targeted by criminals:
- Land Rover
- Alfa Romeo
Car theft has surged again in recent years as criminal gangs exploit new technology to select and steal vehicles.
Research by car tech firm AX found gangs using encrypted messaging services such as WhatsApp to drawn up “shopping lists” of vehicles which are stolen to order then sold on for a fraction of their real value.
The rise of keyless entry and start systems has also been blamed for the resurgence in car crime, with relatively simple electronic tools allowing thieves to mimic a car’s real key and open and start the vehicle in seconds.
Nick Ansley, head of motor at Co-op Insurance, said: “It’s really important that people take measures to protect their own vehicles against theft and look out for others.
“Taking simple precautions such as parking in well-lit areas, avoiding dark streets and not leaving items on display can help to prevent your vehicle being targeted.”
John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch, added: “At Neighbourhood Watch we believe that building strong communities where neighbours look out for each other is key to crime prevention.
“It’s concerning that so many people would choose to ignore a car alarm when this, as well as other actions such as parking under a street light, can reduce the likelihood of being a victim of car crime. It’s times like these that communities need to stick together and look out for one another.”