Valuables such as jewellery, handbags and wallets are the items most commonly stolen items from inside vehicles. But you might want to think about what’s on the outside of your car too, as thefts of exterior fittings are nearly three times as common as thefts from the inside.
The latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales show that a significant 15% of respondents had valuables stolen from their vehicles. Electrical equipment is close behind, including sat-nav systems, MP3 players and computer equipment.
Over the eight-year period covered by the survey, there has been a steady increase in thefts of exterior fittings such as wiper blades, car badges and aerials. The latest figures for 2010/11 show 41% of those asked had experienced a theft of this nature, compared to just 28% in 2003/04.
Car radio theft is on the decline and now sits at 8%. This will continue to drop as more and more car manufacturers offer infotainment systems with built-in audio.
Most common items stolen from vehicles
1. Exterior fittings – 41%
2. Valuables – 15%
3. Electrical equipment – 13%
4. Other vehicle parts – 8%
5. Car radio – 8%
6. Tools – 6%
7. CDs/tapes/videos/DVDs – 5%
8. Glasses/sunglasses/spectacles – 3%
9. Mobile phone – 3%
10. Wheels – 2%
To help avoid car crime, Which? recommends keeping valuables and electrical equipment out of sight. Also make sure all the windows are closed when you leave your vehicle in a car park – 26% of all thefts occur here.