Vehicle thefts have sped up a third over the past year, despite two national lockdowns and more drivers being indoors to keep a closer eye on their engines, according to new data.
Last year, 74,769 vehicles were pinched by their owners – a 33 percent increase from 56,288 in 2019, according to figures from the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Authority.
The question is, is your car in the top 15 most targeted by criminals?
The Ford Fiesta is the most stolen car in the UK, which is not surprising given that it is also the most common model on our roads. It has been reported that around 3,392 were trapped in the DVLA in 2020
The car leasing company Rivervale Leasing has submitted requests to the DVLA for freedom of information regarding the most stolen vehicles for two consecutive years.
The latest statistics from the government agency show that 18,481 vehicles (including motorcycles) were stolen from their rightful owners last year as of 2019.
Shockingly, that’s the equivalent of 205 car thefts a day, with keyless car crime at the center of the growing problem.
In addition to the increasing rate of engine stolen in the UK, fewer owners are likely to see their vehicles again than before – nearly three-quarters have never returned to their owners, the latest official figures say.
According to the latest report from the Bureau of National Statistics on Vehicle Theft, 72 percent of jammed cars are not returned to their owners.
According to ONS statistics, a response rate of just 28 percent in the year up to March 2020 is the lowest response rate in a decade.
There is also a high chance that the smaller percentage of motorists who are likely to get their car back will receive it with some form of damage.
Ford Fiesta gets jammed the most, but high volumes of Range Rover thefts suggest keyless car crime is widespread
In terms of the engines that thieves are most likely to target, the Ford Fiesta tops the charts with 3,392 cases reported to the DVLA in 2020.
Top 15 Most Stolen Car Models in 2020
1. Ford Fiesta – 3,392
2. Land Rover Range Rover – 2,881
3. Volkswagen Golf – 1.975
4th Ford Focus – 1,587
5. BMW 3 Series – 1.435
6th Vauxhall Astra – 1,126
7th Land Rover Discovery – 900
8th. Mercedes-Benz E-Class – 766
9. BMW 5 Series – 678
10. Nissan Qashqai – 655
11. Ford Kuga – 620
12th BMW X5 – 551
13th Fiat 500-358
14th Mercedes-Benz GLC – 342
15th Audi A6 – 268
Source: DVLA records for all vehicles reported as stolen by the police between January 1, 2020 and December 21, 2020 – result of a FOI request from Rivervale Leasing
This is no surprise as the Fiesta is the UK’s most popular engine and has been the UK’s most registered car for 12 years in a row.
However, the published records show that 1,008 more fiestas were pinched in the past year than in the previous twelve months.
And to prove that it’s not just the most common cars on the road that are most often taken by owners, the Range Rover was once again second on the list.
Last year, 2,881 cases were reported of expensive SUVs being stolen by zookeepers – a 50 percent increase from 2019.
This is a clear reflection of the ongoing crime wave involving criminal gangs using keyless technology to target high-quality premium cars – a problem that has worsened in recent years.
In the list of the 15 most notched engines, there is further evidence that luxury vehicles are driven with “relay devices”.
While ordinary cars like the VW Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, and Nissan Qashqai are featured in the list of frequently stolen models, there have been many expensive premium brand vehicles among them.
These include the BMW 3, 5 and X5 SUV, the Land Rover Discovery as well as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the GLC SUV. The Audi A6 also rounded off the top 15.
The Range Rover is the second top most stolen car in 2020 with 2,881 instances. This is likely the result of gangs targeting high quality SUVs with keyless theft
A separate report from Global Telemetrics, a leader in vehicle tracking equipment, provided further evidence that Range Rover are high on the list of criminal gangs.
Understandably, most customers own high-end engines who want to protect their valuable assets.
It turns out that Land Rover’s Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Vogue, and Discovery are the three vehicles that triggered its tracking systems last year.
Second most common were the Fiat Ducato and Ford Transit, with thieves also likely looking for expensive tools locked inside.
Another popular car in the UK, the VW Golf was the third most popular model with 1,975 suitcases
The Ford Focus was the fourth most popular model, according to Rivervale Leasing’s DVLA records
According to statistics, around 900 Land Rover Discovery models were taken over by thieves in 2020
Expensive models from BMW, including the 3 Series (left) and the X5 (right), were among the top 15 cars stolen
The expensive models from Audi, BMW, Jaguar, and Mercedes were also high on the list, with most being large SUVs.
This is Money revealed in 2019 that gangs are sharing shopping lists of Easy-Target models with keyless relay attacks.
Communication between criminals through messaging apps like WhatsApp includes details about the theft, retail value, and sample location.
Vehicle protection and management technology provider AX told us that thieves aren’t just focusing on expensive models, they’re stealing some of the UK’s most sought-after mainstream cars and selling them on the black market for between £ 1,000 and £ 3,000 – which could explain you too why the list is a mix of luxury and ordinary vehicles.
Left: 766 Mercedes E-Class cars were stolen last year. This makes it the eighth most popular model. Right: The expensive Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV took 14th place in the list, 342 were reported to the DVLA as stolen
What are automakers doing to prevent keyless theft?
A recent report from insurer LV = suggests that vehicle theft claims in London rose 265 percent between 2016 and 2019, largely due to the increase in keyless car crime.
In Birmingham, Nottingham and Greater Manchester there have recently been individual increases of over 100 percent.
Richard Billyeald, technical director of independent automotive research firm Thatcham Research, said that while car crime is on the rise again in the UK, it is still well below the record highs of three decades ago.
Speaking to This is Money, he said, “Although the rise in vehicle theft will be a problem for car owners, we are still a long way from the endemic auto crime of the early 1990s, in which more than 600,000 cars were stolen in a single year Thieves mainly use devices that are in a toolbox. «
He warns that most thefts today are largely due to keyless tactics reserved for “sophisticated criminal gangs using digital kits to navigate mechanical security,” and while vehicle manufacturers are trying to combat them, there are none established means of preventing cars from being stolen remotely.
“Keyless entry systems have been problematic and can be exploited by thieves using a technique known as relay attack,” he said.
‘Many automakers are now offering countermeasures for new vehicles such as: B. motion sensor-enabled trailers. However, all new cars with keyless systems should have a solution to this longstanding security vulnerability.
It’s also important to remember that while the motion sensor tag is a good short-term solution, it is not the ultimate solution to the keyless vulnerability that should be developed entirely from new vehicles in the future.
“Drivers should go into the dealership with their eyes open to ensure keyless security. If you intend to specify the system, ask if a fix has been introduced.
“Your dealer will help you with any questions or concerns and will know what system equipment is available and what type of trailer is available.”
Thatcham Research’s 8 Tips for Keeping Your Car Safe
1. Keep endangered objects out of sight
Make sure valuables are removed from your vehicle when you are not using them or are kept out of sight. These can be valuables such as bags, laptops, electronic devices, documents and tools.
2. Make sure your car is locked before you leave
If you are left unattended, make sure the vehicle is locked and the windows are open. Listen for the locking sound and make sure the lights flash or the mirrors flip. Physically check that the vehicle is locked by itself as criminals can sometimes block your key fob’s locking signal. Before going to bed, check that the vehicle is safe and, if possible, ensure that double locking is activated (see owner’s manual).
3. Alarm and immobilizer will be a necessity in 2021
Ensure that Thatcham Research certified alarm and immobilizer systems are installed in your vehicle. Consider improving your vehicle security with Thatcham Research certified alarm, immobilizer, and tracking systems for the aftermarket. Some insurance policies require a tracking device to be installed. It is important that subscriptions to tracking services are retained
Halfords has reported a big surge in steering lock sales as keyless car crime rises in the UK
4. Consider an old school steering lock
Use an immobilizer such as a steering lock or gear clamp. These not only provide another level of security, but also act as a visual deterrent for thieves.
Halfords recently reported double sales of steering locks, with drivers looking to take extra precautions to protect their vehicles.
5. Leave the car near street lights or security cameras when parking in the street
Keep the vehicle unattended in a safe and well-lit place, preferably monitored by video surveillance. If you have one, store your vehicle in a garage overnight. Lockable entrance gates provide thieves with an additional physical and visual deterrent.
Signal blocking bags can prevent criminals from performing relay attacks to steal your car. They cost around £ 5 and are available online
6. Pay attention to where your keys are and consider a signal blocking key pouch
Always keep vehicle keys in a safe place:
a. Do not leave the vehicle unattended in the cold season and drive with the keys in the ignition
b. Keep keys, including spare parts, away from windows and doors.
c. Think about where the spare key is kept and who might have access to it
d. You should be aware of the technology in your vehicle and the key fob features. When PKES (Passive Keyless Entry and Start) is used, a method of theft known as a “relay attack” can occur. You should therefore consider keeping trailers as far from the perimeter of the house as possible.
e. Consider using a Faraday signal blocking pouch for master and spare keys. These cost around £ 5 and can be purchased from Amazon, Halfords, and other retailers.
f. The vehicle key may be cloned. Keep this in mind if you are leaving with untrustworthy parties or services that have not been used before. Make sure the company is a member of an accredited code of conduct / professional standard, such as
I. Motorcodes (motorcodes.co.uk)
ii. The British Parking Association’s Park Mark Program (parkmark.co.uk)
7. Ask your automaker about a key upgrade
Some vehicle manufacturers have made safety upgrades that are available from their dealers. Talk to your dealer to see if safety enhancements are available for the vehicle.
8. Check that your bikes are secure
Make sure the vehicle has tight wheel bolts that secure the vehicle’s wheels.
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