The Police and Crime Commissioner is so angry at the apparent ease at which criminals are stealing cars that he is naming and shaming manufacturers whose vehicles are being taken most often.

David Jamieson has promised to publish car theft data every six months so drivers in the West Midlands can make informed decisions about which vehicles to buy based on the likelihood of them being stolen.

Mr Jamieson is especially concerned about the vulnerability of keyless vehicles.

The latest set of statistics show that Fords are the most popular car amongst thieves. The number of those stolen has risen fivefold in just three years from 489 in 2015 to 2,438 in 2018.

It is true that Fords are the most popular vehicle in our region. But even when you take that into account the level of thefts is still disproportionately high.

Experts within West Midlands Police say that whilst keyless technology has made life more convenient for the motorist it has also made stealing vehicles easier for criminals.

The Commissioner’s data also reveals that Audi and BMW have both seen more than a threefold increase in the theft of their vehicles in our region.

The PCC took the decision to publish the statistics, despite opposition from motor manufacturers, after growing increasingly concerned that not enough was being done to make cars secure.

The statistics, which have been supplied by West Midlands Police, will continue to be published every 6 months until thefts return to the relatively low levels seen in 2015.

The PCC has been leading a national campaign calling on motor manufacturers to close security loopholes. In 2018 he met with BMW, Honda, Ford, Nissan, Audi and Jaguar Land Rover to demand they do more to prevent cars from being taken by crooks.

Of the six firms it would appear Jaguar Land Rover has taken real action to solve the issue.

Consumer magazine Which? recently reported that JLR’s Discovery, Range Rover and Jaguar i-Pace vehicles were the only cars found to be completely secure out of 237 models tested. The tests involved attempts to trick the keyless cars into thinking its key was closer than it really was, enabling thieves to unlock and or start the car.

Keyless cars are increasingly being targeted by organised gangs who are taking advantage of weaknesses in vehicle security systems. Once stolen the vehicles are often shipped abroad or cut up and sold for parts in illegal garages.

The Commissioner has been pleased to see that West Midlands Police is doubling its efforts to clamp down on vehicle theft. Its recent drive to tackle the problem led to nearly 1,000 arrests and 600 stolen vehicles recovered.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: “It is no longer a secret that most manufacturers have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to vehicle security.

“As keyless technology has grown in popularity more and more cars have vanished from driveways as their owners sleep. Some vehicles are being stolen by criminals in less than a minute.

“The data I am publishing will allow consumers to see how secure the cars they are buying really are.

“I am pleased to see that local firm JLR are tackling the problem head on. It is an example to the rest of the industry.

“West Midlands Police know I expect it to do more too. However, in recent months the force has netted 1,000 suspects and recovered hundreds of vehicles.

“This is vital work, but often very dangerous. These criminals are not only taking what doesn’t belong to them, but putting lives at risk.”

No. of cars stolen1
2015 2016 2017 2018
Ford 489 992 1,695 2,438
Audi 199 298 455 663
BMW 193 273 380 622
Mercedes 114 168 244 602
Vauxhall 318 327 488 525
Volkswagon 170 209 309 415
Land Rover3 99 95 190 396
Nissan 81 90 171 267
Peugeot 145 123 154 208
Renault 105 102 128 165
Fiat 43 39 95 157
Toyota 82 73 122 140
Citroen 68 68 76 116
Seat 54 50 84 92
Honda 55 56 75 84
Skoda 21 33 38 56
Hyundai 32 25 46 49
Mini 27 31 40 42
Kia 14 12 38 40
Volvo 21 21 35 32
All manufacturers 2,521 3,284 5,170 7,452
All thefts of motor vehicle4 4,518 6,000 8,558 10,311

1 – Includes theft of motor vehicle offences, excludes burglary and robbery and other offences where motor vehicle taken.
2 – Includes cars and some light goods vehicles.
3 – Includes Range Rover.
4 – Includes cars, light goods vehicles, motorbikes, scooters, buses, heavy goods vehicles.

% of all cars stolen1,2 % of registrations3
2015 2016 2017 2018 2008-2017
Ford 19 30 33 33 17
Audi 8 9 9 9 5
BMW 8 8 7 8 5
Land Rover4 4 3 4 5 3
Mercedes 5 5 5 8 6
Seat 2 2 2 1 2
Fiat 2 1 2 2 3
Honda 2 2 1 1 2
Skoda 1 1 1 1 1
Mini 1 1 1 1 1
Renault 4 3 2 2 3
Toyota 3 2 2 2 3
Kia 1 0 1 1 2
Nissan 3 3 3 4 5
Hyundai 1 1 1 1 2
Volkswagon 7 6 6 6 7
Volvo 1 1 1 0 2
Peugeot 6 4 3 3 6
Citroen 3 2 1 2 5
Vauxhall 13 10 9 7 13
All manufacturers 100 100 100 100 100

1 – Includes theft of motor vehicle offences, excludes burglary and robbery and other offences where motor vehicle taken.
2 – Includes cars and some light goods vehicles.
3 – West Midlands force area data on new registrations from the Department for Transport. Includes cars and light goods vehicles.
4 – Includes Range Rover.

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