Surge in car crime prompts RAA warning for motorists

1 April, 2022

Car theft is on the rise as crooks look to cash in on the increasing value of used cars, according to RAA Insurance.

The number of cars stolen in the past 12 months has soared by 24 per cent, RAA Insurance claims records revealed.

And the total value of the vehicles broken into in the 12 months to March this year has jumped by 56 per cent compared to the 12 months to March 2021, reflecting the increasing value of used cars driven by a shortage of new car supplies.

RAA spokesman Mark Borlace said the spike in car theft had bucked the recent long term trend generated by mandatory immobilisers and improved security systems.

“Initially, car thefts dropped away when Covid-19 first spread because many people stayed at home and cars weren’t out in vulnerable places like shopping or entertainment centres,’’ Mr Borlace said

“But demand for used cars began to grow as the pandemic continued, because people avoided public transport and supplies of new cars became limited, which has pushed used car prices up.

“That has made them a more tempting target for opportunist thieves.’’

Mr Borlace said the recent easing of restrictions had also encouraged more people to get out to sporting and cultural events, resulting in more cars being left in car parks and in street parks.

“Another reason for the increase in car thefts is that as they’ve knocked down one house and put two houses on a block, it often reduces the amount of car-parking available – so more and more cars are parking in the street,” he said.

“All these factors combine to provide more opportunities for robbers to strike.’’

RAA recommends parking your vehicle in a garage or carport if possible. You should also install sensor lights in your driveway to deter thieves.

If you must park on the road, leave your car in a well-lit area, and always lock your vehicle.

Motorists should also remove such valuables from their vehicles, including house keys and important documents which may reveal where they live, rather than keeping them stashed out of view.

RAA Insurance claims data shows the cars most commonly stolen were four door sedans and wagons.

Mr Borlace said the claims data also showed the most popular makes of car stolen were Toyota, Holden, Ford, Nissan and Mazda, which reflected the most common make of cars on our roads.