It’s emerged that drivers of Fords in the West Midlands are the most likely to have their cars stolen.
That’s according to figures published by the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner which names and shames the 20 worst performing manufacturers whose vehicles are most at risk of being stolen.
David Jamieson is angry at the apparent ease at which criminals are stealing cars and has promised to publish car theft data every six months so motorists 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.
So far in 2019, statistics show that Fords are the most popular car amongst thieves. The number of those stolen has risen from 489 in 2015 to 1,557 so far in 2019.
Even when you take that into account that Fords are the most popular car in the region, the level of thefts is disproportionately high.
Experts within West Midlands Police say that whilst keyless technology has made life more convenient for the motorist it is also making stealing vehicles more convenient for criminals.
The PCC’s data also reveals 432 Audi’s have been stolen so far this year, compared to 199 in 2015.
Similarly, Mercedes has also seen an increase in theft, rising from 114 in 2015 to 529 so far this year.
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 supplied to the Commissioner 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. Last year, he held a car theft summit and met with BMW, Honda, Ford, Nissan, Audi and Jaguar Land Rover to demand they do more to prevent cars from being taken by crooks.
The Home Office Vehicle Crime Taskforce also approached the PCC to work with it to tackle the issue.
There are early signs that manufacturers are listening to the public’s concerns and new technology is being rolled out to try and prevent thefts. However, it is not yet clear what affect it will have on the number of cars being stolen.
Consumer magazine What Car? recently reported that it is 90% faster to steal a keyless car than a car with old-fashioned locks and ignition. Keyless cars can be stolen in as little as 10 seconds.
What Car? tested the security of 7 different car models and found they were able to steal six of them using the same technology used by thieves. One of the cars could be stolen in only ten seconds.
The tests involved attempts to trick the keyless cars into thinking its key was closer than it really was.
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 so called ‘chop-shops’.
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: “I’ve been saying for a long time now that manufacturers have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to vehicle security.
“It’s a disgrace that buyers are being sold cars with 19th century levels of protection. The progress which car manufacturers are taking to prevent keyless thefts is far too slow.
“So far this year we have had 5,527 cars stolen. That’s over double the entire amount stolen in 2015.
“Last year, I started a national campaign to get car makers and the Government to take steps to combat theft.
“As well as developing technology to protect new vehicles, I believe car makers should take responsibility for providing free legacy updates for owners of older cars.
“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 seconds.
“The data I am publishing will allow consumers to see how secure the cars they are buying really are.
“These criminals are not only taking what doesn’t belong to them, but putting lives at risk.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner added: “West Midlands Police know I expect it to keep up the pressure on vehicle thefts. In recent months the force has netted over 1,000 suspects and recovered hundreds of vehicles.
“Police action alone won’t stop this problem, that’s why the manufacturers have to tighten their security too.”
|NO. OF CARS STOLEN1||NO. OF CARS STOLEN1||NO. OF CARS STOLEN1||NO. OF CARS STOLEN1||NO. OF CARS STOLEN1|
|2015||2016||2017||2018||2019 (7 months)|
|All thefts of motor vehicle4||4,518||6,000||8,558||10,311||5,527|
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 ALL CARS STOLEN1,2||% OF ALL CARS STOLEN1,2||% OF ALL CARS STOLEN1,2||% OF ALL CARS STOLEN1,2||% OF REGISTRATIONS3|
|2015||2016||2017||2018||2019 (7 months)||2008-2017|
1 – Includes theft of motor vehicle
offences, excludes burglary and robbery and other offences where motor vehicle
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.