One vehicle was stolen every five minutes in 2018.
Official data released by the Home Office shows the number of thefts has nearly doubled over the last five years, with almost 120,000 vehicles reported stolen last year.
This news comes after a recent report revealed that thieves are increasingly using technology to bypass entry systems on keyless cars. Four of the five best-selling models in the UK are thought to be susceptible to ‘keyless theft’, according to recent research from Which?
Figures for the financial year 2013-14 uncovered a total of 75,308 stolen vehicles – a figure which increased to 111,999 in 2017-18.
A further 106,210 vehicles were either stolen or ‘taken without authorisation’ over the period – up by 43% – while 5,789 fell under the category of ‘aggravated vehicle taking’.
RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey said: “These figures show a very alarming 49% increase in vehicle thefts in just five years. In 2018, nearly 120,000 thefts were reported, the equivalent of one being stolen every five minutes or 300 a day.
“They also paint a very depressing picture of a society where it is all too easy for gangs of thieves to break in and steal vehicles, and where there are fewer police officers to catch them and bring them to justice.
“From 2013 to 2018 we lost 5,975 police officers, but looking further back to 2006 the story is even worse with 21,958 fewer officers which represents a 15% reduction.”
The Home Office figures also show a total 280,032 instance of thefts from vehicles – an 8% year-on-year increase, but slightly down on the 285,047 recorded back in 2012-13.
They come after policing minister, Nick Hurd, announced a new taskforce to tackle vehicle theft.
The taskforce includes representatives from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the SMMT, Thatcham Research, Retail Motor Industry, Motorcycle Industry Association and the Association of British Insurers.