Vehicle Thefts At Record Lows In Australia

There’s some good news and bad news in figures on car theft in Australia.

The good news is that car theft is at its lowest since records started in the 1970s, with 52,000 cars stolen in 2013/14 according to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council. That’s a big reduction from the peak year of 2000-2001, when 142,000 cars were stolen across the country.

The bad news is that “professional” vehicle theft – where vehicles are stolen and not recovered – has risen from 15 per cent of stolen vehicles 10 years ago to 31 per cent today.

While compulsory immobilisers have greatly reduced car theft, sophisticated car thieves are now beating them using hand-held vehicle diagnostic units used legitimately by mechanics. They’re readily available and can be bought for as little as $150.

Most theft opportunistic

Most car theft, however, is opportunistic, with thieves breaking into houses, finding the car keys and making off with the car. A lot of cars are stolen after break-ins.

Brisbane has the dubious distinction of being Australia’s car theft capital. It’s total of 1778 stolen vehicles is more than twice the next highest city according to a recent report in The Australian. The good news is that 78 per cent of those stolen cars, mostly older vehicles without immobilisers, are recovered.

When it comes to professional car theft, Bankstown in Sydney is the nation’s hot-spot, with 58 per cent of stolen vehicles disappearing for good – that’s a depressing 311 out of 541 total thefts.

The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council estimates that one in every 150 households had a vehicle stolen last year and that vehicle theft cost the country over $680 million.

Protect your keys

While immobilisers have greatly reduced car theft they won’t save your car if the rotten crook simply steals your keys, so protecting them is vital. The message is don’t leave them around on tables or key hooks or where they can be seen, and if you’re out and about, but the car’s at home, make sure the keys are with you.

One smart solution to car theft is to fit a Fleetdynamics vehicle tracker that will tell you exactly where your vehicle is should it be stolen. With the optional shutdown module you can even switch off the vehicle’s ignition remotely, stopping the thieving low-life dead in their tracks.

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Categories: Safety, Australia
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