The number of car thefts in great Britain rose by 30% in three years, sparking fears that the thieves are becoming more technologically advanced.
A total of 85,688 car thefts were registered by the police in 2016, 19,905 more than in 2013, despite the huge advances in car security systems.
The RAC, which produced the figures, cites improvements in the equipment used by thieves to break into digital car safety features such as the main cause.
London remains the country’s car theft capital, with its share of total thefts increase by 24% in 2013 to 31% in 2016. Thefts in London amounted to 26,496 vehicles in 2016, with a growth of 28% from 2013.
The West Midlands and West Yorkshire has seen the biggest growth in thefts during the same period, with 2016 theft equal to 5930 and 5597 vehicles, respectively, the increase of 43% and 57% on the 2013 figures.
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Manchester city was the most affected area, with the local police force recording 4999 stolen vehicles in 2016. Essex and Thames Valley following with 3623 and 2799 vehicle taken in 2016, respectively.
“We are afraid that thieves are becoming increasingly well equipped with technology capable of defeating car manufacturers in anti-theft systems,” he explained RAC insurance director Mark Godfrey.
“The technology advances in immobilizers, keys and car alarms had caused the number of vehicle thefts to decrease significantly from over 300,000 in 2002, but unfortunately now have increased after hitting the bottom in 2013 and 2014.”
Despite the recent spate of thefts, the Society of motor manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) believes that the increase should not obscure the vast progress car brands have done to improve the security technology.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “New cars have never been safer and the latest technology has helped bring down the theft that is dramatic, that is the reason why less than 0.3% of the vehicles on our roads is stolen today.
“Manufacturers invest billions of dollars to stay one step ahead of the criminals and the latest models are equipped with a sophisticated immobilisers, tracking devices and an encryption key codes to prevent cloning.”
Hawes said the SMMT was pushing for more security measures to prevent the illegal sale of devices that allow the key to cloning, and the signal of the block, and they are listed as the most favorite systems of modern thieves.
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