Worst areas for car theft increases revealed

Staffordshire saw a bigger increase in car thefts than any other area, followed by Bedfordshire and Thames Valley

Police car

Staffordshire saw the biggest rise in car thefts last year, according to new figures.

The Government data was analysed by car-selling site Motorway and shows which police force areas in the UK suffered the worst increases in car theft. Staffordshire saw the largest rise, with car thefts jumping by 37.5 per cent from 1,332 in 2017 to 1,831 in 2018.

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Car crime rises again with 113,000 vehicles stolen last year

Bedfordshire Police came second, seeing a 27.3 per cent year-on-year rise from 1,054 thefts to 1,342. The number of cars stolen in the Thames Valley area, meanwhile, increased 26.8 per cent from 2,574 to 3,625.




Police force



2017 car thefts



2018 car thefts



Percentage increase



Staffordshire Police









37.5 per cent



Bedfordshire Police









27.3 per cent



Thames Valley Police









26.8 per cent



Surrey Police









22.3 per cent



Durham Constabulary









20.4 per cent



Gwent Police









19.4 per cent



West Midlands Police









18.7 per cent



Derbyshire Constabulary









18.7 per cent



Northumbria Police









18.1 per cent



Essex Police









16.6 per cent


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Only seven police forces saw a year-on-year decrease in car thefts from 2017 to 2018. The City of London Police’s figure dropped 21.8 per cent from 78 to 61, Wiltshire Police’s fell 11.2 per cent from 636 to 565, and Humberside Police’s was down by 9.2 per cent, from 1,489 to 1,352.

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Dyfed-Powys, Merseyside and Avon and Somerset were the other three police areas that saw decreases, while the British Transport Police also reported an 11.9 per cent drop, from 464 thefts to 409.

In addition, five forces have seen vehicle thefts more than double in the last five years: British Transport Police (up by 217 per cent), Surrey Police (138 per cent), Nottinghamshire Police (122 per cent), Staffordshire Police (115 per cent) and the West Midlands Police (114 per cent).

How to avoid keyless theft

Alex Buttle, director of Motorway, said: “These troubling figures suggest that over-stretched and under-resourced police forces are struggling to curb the rising number of car crimes, and in particular keyless car thefts.”

He added that drivers – especially those with valuable cars – should check they are not being watched, keep their keys in a safe place away from windows and doors, and consider fitting a tracking device.

Does your area suffer from high rates of car theft? Let us know in the comments below...


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