UK car crime rates hit a 20-year low

4 Jan, 2016 11:20am Martin Saarinen

UK vehicle crime has fallen by 80 per cent since 1993, largely thanks to steering locks and electronic immobilisers, a new report reveals

UK vehicle crime is the lowest it has been in the last 20 years, according to a new report released by the Home Office. Since 1993, vehicle theft and break-ins have fallen by over 80 per cent, despite eight million more vehicles on UK roads. 

Figures suggest that today there are around 10 vehicle break-ins and three vehicle thefts for every 1,000 vehicles on the road. In 1993 there were approximately 20 vehicles stolen and 40 broken into for every 1,000.

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The decline in vehicle crime can largely be attributed to the growing popularity of anti-theft devices fitted by manufacturers. The report identifies steering locks and electronic immobilisers as the two key safety devices in curbing crime rates.

Steering locks were introduced as a response to rising vehicle thefts in the 1960s, and quickly halted the rising crime rate, while electronic immobilisers found their way to cars between the 1980s and 1990s.

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Modern technologies such as number plate recognition cameras, CCTV surveillance and vehicle trackers are also helping dissuade criminals from stealing and breaking into cars.

UK Minister for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Victims Mike Penning said: “It is safer to own a car in the UK today than ever before with overall vehicle crime at the lowest levels since records began in 1981, and this is down to new technology being introduced by industry, fewer drug users and better policing.

“Vehicle crime is changing and the criminals that would have simply used a coat hanger to steal a car in the 1980s are now working on new ways of committing crime, and we are committed to stopping them.”

What's your view on the car crime figures? Is the latest tech defeating the thieves or is there still work to be done?