Criminals get hi-tech as Shropshire vehicle thefts soar
Vehicle thefts across Shropshire and Mid Wales are on the rise following a decade of decline, according to new figures.
West Mercia Police recorded 368 crimes last year – up 26 per cent from 291 in 2013, while Dyfed-Powys Police saw an increase of 18 per cent from 167 to 197.
The figures have been revealed following a Freedom of Information request to police forces by the RAC.
Responses from 40 forces showed 85,688 vehicles were stolen last year in England and Wales.
Chief inspector Sarah Corteen of West Mercia Police Crime Bureau said: “Vehicle theft is an issue that West Mercia Police takes very seriously and we understand the impact this can have on people’s day-to-day lives.
“We carry out a number of initiatives to specifically target vehicle crime and are committed to working closely with neighbouring forces to prevent and tackle any such activity in our area.
“We have seen a rise in the number of recorded crimes, however this is, in the main, in line with the need to comply with national crime recording standards.
“Vehicle crime is often opportunistic and there are a number of steps people can take to make it harder for potential vehicle thieves.”
Police in Warwickshire reported the largest percentage increase in stolen vehicles from 2013 to 2016, up 189 per cent.
Meanwhile, West Midlands Police saw the numbers rise by 43 per cent, from 4,161 to 5,930. RAC insurance director Mark Godfrey said this rise reverses a general trend of vehicle thefts decreasing since around 2002.
“We fear thieves are now becoming more and more well equipped with technology capable of defeating car manufacturers’ anti-theft systems,” he said. “This is bad news for motorists as it has the effect of causing insurance premiums to rise at a time when they are already being pushed up by a variety of factors, not least the recent change to the discount rate for life-changing personal injury compensation claims and the rises in insurance premium tax.”
Mr Godfrey said a growing number of motorists were resorting to using unfashionable anti-theft devices which were popular in the 1980s and early 1990s such as steering wheel locks.