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Revealed: the UK’s car theft hotspots

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The London boroughs of Lambeth and Kensington and Chelsea are the UK’s car theft hotspots, data reveals.

Co-op Insurance looked at claims figures between 2016 and 2020 and found Lambeth had the highest frequency of car theft claims as a percentage of policies in that area.

The affluent Kensington and Chelsea postcode area came in a close second.

Outside of London, Watford and Slough had the highest frequency of claims, while Preston was the only northern borough within the top 20, sitting at number 13.

At the other end of the scale, Moray in Scotland had the least frequency of vehicle theft claims in the four-year period.  In England, the borough of Mid Devon was the lowest on the list and for Wales, it was Denbighshire.

When it comes to which makes and models of cars are most likely to be targeted, the study found that smaller, lower-price point vehicles are favoured by thieves. The top three cars stolen, by volume of total claims over the four years, were the Ford Fiesta, the Ford Focus and the Vauxhall Corsa.

More expensive models also featured near the top, including Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque at number six and the Audi A3 at eight. BMWs do not feature in the top 10, but the BMW 320 comes in at number 11.

Paul Evans, head of motor insurance at Co-op Insurance, said: “People with smaller and perhaps less expensive cars need to be aware that these motor vehicles are hot property for car thieves.”

Top tips to beat the car thieves

  1. Think before you park: if your car’s not at home, park it in a well-lit area, near to people and other cars and somewhere where it can easily be seen, preferably monitored by CCTV or a security patrol.
  2. Wheels at an angle: when parking on the street, make sure your car wheels are facing the kerb (unless parking up hill on a hill). This means that anyone trying to speed off in your car will have to release the steering wheel lock first. It also helps eliminate the chance of a thief towing or pushing your car away to a quieter spot.
  3. Invest in deterrents: something as simple as a visible steering lock can really put a car thief off. If you don’t have one fitted, consider adding a car alarm, immobiliser, tracking device or dash cam.
  4. Doors to manual: you might think that by clicking your key fob, your car has automatically been locked but increasingly inexpensive remote control jamming technology can be purchased on line which blocks signals to your car meaning you are actually leaving it completely unlocked and not alarmed. The only way to ensure it has worked is by manually checking the doors and boot before you walk away.
  5. Avoid temptation: never leave enticing objects such as bags, clothes, sat navs, designer sunglasses, loose change or mobile phones on display. This could prompt an opportunistic thief to smash a window and take your belongings. Ensure your car looks empty and free from expensive items.
  6. Switch off your engine: don’t leave your car running while you nip off to run an errand – you’re making it too easy for car thieves to take advantage of an empty driving seat.
  7. Petrol stations: if no one is sitting in your car, lock it as you go to pay for your petrol otherwise this gives a thief an ideal opportunity to strike.
  8. Be surroundings aware: to avoid being a victim of carjacking, when in slow moving traffic or a traffic jam lock your windows and doors, place valuables out of sight and remain alert, especially if travelling at night or driving a convertible.


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