Holiday car crime UK - because criminals don't take a vacation! Select Car Leasing
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Holiday car crime UK - because criminals don't take a vacation!

With the school summer holidays just around the corner, many families will be packing up their cars and road-tripping to their ultimate summer staycation. 

But your dream UK jaunt could soon turn into a nightmare if you find yourself the victim of car crime - with either your vehicle stolen, or your car broken into and valuables swiped, while you're away. 

Here at Select Car Leasing, we wanted to uncover where the most risky, and safest, areas of the country are when it comes to car theft, while looking at some of the key British summer holiday destinations. 

And on top of that, we also wanted to find out when the most dangerous time of the year is for car theft. 

We gathered information from each police force in England and Wales using publicly available data, which covers a 12-month period between October 2021 – September 2022.

The results are startling - particularly for summer holidaymakers! 

Most Dangerous Time of Year for Car Theft

Our data is split into yearly quarters; January – March, April – June, July - September and October – December. And it doesn't just cover the actual theft of a vehicle, the crime statistics also take into account cars broken into. 

• July - September – 91,487 crimes

• April - June – 87,868 crimes

• January - March – 85,334 crimes

• October - December – 81,219 crimes

As we can see, the summer months are the most dangerous time of the year when it comes to the theft of and from vehicles,  with more than 91,000 car thefts recorded in the three-month period. Perhaps surprisingly, winter is one of the safer times to travel, with only 81,000 crimes reported. That's in spite of criminals potentially making use of the long, dark nights, and also with more people travelling with valuables around the Christmas and New Year period. 

Most Dangerous Areas of England and Wales for Car Theft

Unsurprisingly, the most dangerous area of England and Wales to leave your car is London, with a total of 97,460 thefts over the 12-month period covered by the data we uncovered. 

The second most dangerous area is the West Midlands, this includes Birmingham, with just a third of the car thefts in London at 32,409. In third is Greater Manchester with 21,744 car thefts for that particular year.

The remaining top 10 areas with the highest number of car thefts are West Yorkshire (14.5k), Thames Valley (13k), Essex (11.2k), South Yorkshire (10.7k), Hampshire (9.4k), Avon & Somerset and Kent (8.4k).

There is some good news, though. 

Because some of the safest places for car theft also happen to be home to some of the UK's most popular National Parks. 

The safest region of all is one that encompasses the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales.

The Dyfed-Powys area - which also covers the popular coastal tourist hotspots of Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire – had just 484 vehicle theft crimes reported between October 2021 and September 2022.

Second in the list of safest summer destinations is Cumbria – home to the tourist trap that is the Lake District National Park. Cumbria Police recorded 781 car-related theft crimes last year.

North Wales - home to the mountainous Snowdonia National Park, as well as holiday hot-spots like Abersoch and Anglesey - saw 1,041 car thefts in the same period.

In fourth place in the list, North Yorkshire Police recorded 1,041 incidents. It’s a county that includes two national parks in the form North York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales and which attract millions of visitors each year.

Meanwhile Norfolk - which attracts hordes of boating enthusiasts to the Broads National Park each year - completes the five areas with the least number of vehicle crimes, with 1,605 theft or break-in reports.

In total, there were a whopping 345,000 thefts of vehicles, or from vehicles, in England and Wales last year.

How to Protect Yourself From Holiday Car Crime

Lock your vehicle: Even when filling-up at a petrol station when or when loading it on your drive, locking your vehicle greatly reduces the possibility of it being targeted by an opportunist thief. Also, check you haven’t left any windows or the sunroof open.

Keep the keys safe: Vehicles nowadays are more difficult to steal than ever. However, thieves are becoming cleverer with their behaviours, and are now able to pick up the signal the car key that’s safe inside your home, before bouncing it outside to make the vehicle think you’re standing right next to it. Keep your keys safe and out of view and if it’s an electric key or fob, lock them in a screened or signal-blocking box at home so it can’t be cloned.

Park responsibly: It’s always advisable to avoid parking in dark and secluded areas. So, when possible, leave your vehicle in a well-lit and busy area.

Check and check again: Electronic devices can be used to jam the electronic signal from your key fob when you try to lock to your vehicle. Always manually check your vehicle has locked before walking away. Or if your vehicle has wing mirrors that fold in automatically when locked, ensure this happens before walking off.

Keep valuables out of sight: Most thieves are opportunists, so if they see valuables on seats or within eye view from within the car, they’re more likely to attempt breaking in. Keep valuables locked away in the boot or in the glove box to avoid them being taken.”

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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024