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First alloys, then catalytic converters – now thieves are targeting airbags!

By Tom Gibson | May 3, 2022


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Over 50,000 airbags are being stolen annually with motorists falling victim to the latest type of car theft

First alloys, then catalytic converters – now thieves are targeting airbags!

If it’s not one thing it’s another. Throughout the early 2000s, allow wheels and premium car brand badges were being stolen in their thousands. As time went on, catalytic converters were being taken as a result of the money that can be made from the valuable metals they’re made from.

And now, an investigation has revealed airbags are the latest ‘must have’ for thieves up and down the country with over 50,000 being stolen each year.

Airbags are being stolen with thieves often breaking windows and removing steering wheels in operations that are taking under a minute to complete. The criminals are regularly even conducting these operations in daylight seemingly undeterred by the long arm of the law.

We reported recently on how car thieves have been operating in the daylight and our staggering report found a repeat criminal who clearly wasn’t phased by the police and what he clearly thought was a slim chance of punishment heading his way.

This worrying perception of how our authorities operate – regardless of whether it holds much truth – is seeing our society become increasingly unruly as criminals look to profit at the expense of law abiding citizens.

For airbag thefts, experts believe that while some of these steering wheels are sold on as a complete unit, most are taken for the airbags which they contain. 

Due to global factory closures during the Covid-19 pandemic and a shortage of materials generally, the car industry is still playing catch-up when it comes to making parts for cars. As a result, there is a shortage of supplies and this has pushed up their value on the black market. 

Authorised dealerships can charge up to £1,000 to replace an activated or faulty airbag but a stolen airbag changes hands for as little as £200, with the garage charging a customer a few hundred pounds on top to fit. 

According to car insurance companies, recent years have seen a spike in this sort of crime, with claims increasing by almost 70 per cent in 2021 alone. 

While motorists who fall victim to this type of crime are left to deal with the inconvenience and cost of having their vehicle repaired there is also a massive safety issue with airbags providing one of the biggest forms of protection for drivers in the event of a crash.

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