Research analysed by RAC Insurance found that the number of vehicle thefts rose by 56% over four years between 2015 and 2019 and over 150,000 motor vehicles were stolen in the year 2018-19, 10,000 more than the previous year.
RAC recently published their findings on vehicle theft in the UK, revealing that 32 police forces recorded a rise in vehicle thefts year-on-year, with six forces more than doubling in the number of vehicle thefts between 2017-18 and 2018-19.
In Greater Manchester alone, more than £6.6 million worth of cars were stolen between June and August 2020. Unfortunately, whilst many were recovered, 800 remain outstanding. These vehicles likely ended up either dismantled with their parts sold online via ‘chop shops’ or shipped to Europe, Africa, or Asia — repainted/refurbished with all identification removed to reduce any chances of being traced.
Greater Manchester Police launched Operation Dynamo in 2018 in an attempt to target car crime and take down the kingpins responsible for the surge. In 2014 there were 6,428 car thefts in Greater Manchester. By 2018 that number had risen by 56% to 10,040.
In 2019, Manchester Evening News revealed that nine out of ten car thieves in Greater Manchester got away with the crime. This is because over three quarters (78%) of car theft investigations are dropped when there is no suspect identified and 12% are dropped due to a lack of evidence.
RAC Insurance Spokesperson, Simon Williams, said:
“While organised criminal gangs are responsible for a large proportion of crime, thieves will also be opportunistic in nature so the more a driver can do to make their car a less likely target the better.”
How to Prevent Your Vehicles from Being Stolen
Whilst vehicle theft is so rife, you may be wondering how you can protect your fleet vehicles from being stolen, after all, the loss of a vehicle can have a significant impact on your business both financially and productively. Here are some steps you can take to reduce the chances of your vehicles being stolen and increase the chances of them being recovered should a thief manage to get behind the wheel.
Don’t Make Your Fleet Vehicles an Easy Target
Ensure your drivers are always locking their vehicles before leaving it, even if only for a short time. All windows and doors should be shut and locked and keys should be kept with the driver at all times. Wheel locks can also help to deter and prevent thieves from stealing your vehicle.
Park in Safe Spots
Many vehicle-related crimes occur at night; hence, making sure your vehicles are parked in a well-lit, safe area open to public view with CCTV is essential. Alternatively, if you keep your vehicles at your warehouse, make sure you have plenty of security measures in place, such as CCTV and password-protected gates.
Take Care with Keyless Entry/Start Fobs
Many thieves use a technique to steal vehicles which involves copying the key signal to another device which is placed close to the vehicle. This tricks the vehicle into thinking the genuine key is present and allows a thief to get in and drive away. If you have keyless fobs, make sure they are always kept in a secure location, away from doors and windows and ideally in a metal (Faraday) box or signal blocking pouch as this will prevent thieves from being able to copy it.
Implement Vehicle Tracking Devices
Vehicle trackers are excellent at preventing theft and aiding recovery of vehicles which do end up getting stolen. A ‘GPS Tracked’ sticker alone can be an effective deterrent for many thieves.
Fortunately, Fleetsmart has the solution for you. At Fleetsmart, our tracking devices can help reduce the chances of vehicle theft in many ways, from preventing a thief from turning on the ignition to tracking down stolen vehicles immediately.
Our optional remote immobilisation tool allows you to disable your vehicle from working, preventing the wrong person from turning on the ignition and setting off with your vehicle.
Even if a daring thief decides to take their chances, our geo-fence alerts can send you a notification when a vehicle exits or enters a location it shouldn’t between specific times. This comes in useful for ensuring your vehicles aren’t being taken from your warehouse after working hours.
Accurate GPS Tracking
However, suppose a thief somehow manages to take a vehicle with such accurate GPS tracking software. In that case, you should be able to track them down in a matter of seconds and alert the police of the vehicle’s location to be recovered.
At Fleetsmart, we use only the most sophisticated technology that is being constantly developed further in-house to ensure the tracking of your vehicles is as accurate as possible. This includes our European tracking feature which allows you to monitor your fleet vehicles even when they’re operating outside of the UK.
With a Fleetsmart tracker on your vehicle, or with a fleet of tracked vehicles, you can relax knowing no thief will be able to outsmart our technology, which means you are always able to locate your vehicles. Not only does this protect you from losing your vehicles, but most insurance companies are willing to give you a discount if you have a vehicle tracker fitted, a win, win.