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Spike in car thefts and burglaries could push up insurance premiums for all

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Car theft is up 25% in a year while burglaries are also on the rise in the continuing cost-of-living crisis. The “worrying” trend could hike up insurance premiums for drivers and households.

The number of car thefts has risen from 104,435 to 130,389 in the year to 2022, according to analysis of the Office for National Statistics data.

Meanwhile, theft from cars rose 10% from 193,647 in 2021 to 212,900 last year, AA Insurance Services revealed.

However, this figure could be higher as Devon and Cornwall Police were unable to supply figures to the ONS.

Elsewhere, there has been a 3% increase in burglaries in England and Wales, with 191,094 people reporting items stolen from their homes in 2022. This is up from 185,683 in 2021.

Laptops, tablets, mobile phones and jewellery remain the key targets for criminals, while lawn mowers, barbecues, pizza ovens and game consoles are also on the hit list.

The AA said this rise in car thefts and personal possessions from homes is “worrying for everyone” as technology is used more and more by thieves to target victims.

The motoring group said thieves are keeping pace with manufacturers by using a variety of hi-tech methods to steal them. Relay theft, key cloning and signal blocking continue to be the main ways.

However, the traditional methods of smashing windows or forcing windows and doors open are the main ways to steal possessions from cars.

While nothing is foolproof, the AA said drivers should not keep valuables in cars, or at the very least hide them. Visible deterrents such as a steering wheel lock can also keep thieves at bay as these devices can’t be overcome by technology.

Meanwhile, when it comes to home security, it said the rise of doorbell cameras is helping identify criminal activity. But households should consider additional security measures such as alarm systems, while high value items should be hidden away or marked with SmartWater.

‘Big cost implications for wider society’

Gus Park, managing director for AA Insurance Services, said: “The rise in vehicle and residential thefts are worrying for everyone and highlights that security of both car and home are vitally important.

“These figures are in danger of getting out of control, which if left to spiral further will have big cost implications in terms of the impact to wider society let alone the price policy holders pay. We urge police chiefs and crime commissioners across the country to create an action plan to crack the case.

“Unfortunately, there is no one thing that can guarantee keeping your car safe from theft, but just making it a bit harder for the thieves can make it less likely that they’ll go for your car.”

Park added: “When it comes to protecting your home, making sure high value possessions are recorded on your home insurance policy is key. Consideration should also be made regarding where items are hidden when not in use, especially car keys. Additional security measures such as doorbell cameras and alarm systems are well worth investing in to upgrade your home.”

Related: Is your keyless car at risk of theft?

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