High-tech security has made many modern cars almost impossible to steal for thieves.
The motor industry has battled hard to combat theft – and the result is the number of stolen cars is rapidly falling and many of the targets for criminals are older, less secure vehicles.
In seven years, car theft has plunged by around two thirds.
According to police crime statistics, owners had 107,000 cars stolen – down around 10% from 2009 when 119,000 were stolen and a massive 82% down on the 600,000 cars stolen every year about 20 years ago.
The not-so-secret weapon is the security codes built-in to car keys that makes theft almost impossible without a key.
Andrew Miller, director of research at car insurance repair research centre, Thatcham, said: “We are doing everything possible to crack down on car crime. Now it is the motorist’s responsibility to drive down vehicle theft figures.”
That responsibility means not leaving car keys easily available around the home.
Miller claims 80% of car thefts involve stealing or otherwise ‘borrowing’ the owner’s keys and that about 17,500 homes are burgled specifically to take car keys.
The car voted as the most secure in the British Insurance Vehicle Security Awards was the Volvo C30. Volkswagen won the car maker’s award and Vauxhall topped the van maker’s category.
Other awards went to the Audi A1, the Volvo C30 and the Citroen C5 Exclusive.
The decline in car theft corresponds with a switch in auto-related crime to insurance fraud.
More sophisticated thieves now find crash-for-cash easier and more lucrative than stealing a car.
The latest insurance rackets are plotted on maps by car insurance firms – and unsurprisingly the areas with the worst crime rates are those where most people live.
London is top, followed by Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and the Yorkshire cities of Leeds and Bradford.