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Only 2.2% of all vehicle thefts lead to criminal charges, according to data from the Home Office

By Mathilda Bartholomew | February 16, 2024


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Throughout the 12-month period that was analysed, there was a consistent decline in the conviction rate

Only 2.2% of all vehicle thefts lead to criminal charges, according to data from the Home Office

Recent government statistics have exposed that the majority of individuals involved in car theft manage to evade criminal charges. Home Office data spanning from July 2022 to June 2023 revealed that merely 2.12% of all stolen vehicles resulted in arrests and charges by the police.

In contemporary times, criminals have adopted sophisticated methods, leveraging modern technology for car theft. Some utilise tracking devices to pinpoint specific drivers, while others resort to car hacking, particularly targeting vehicles equipped with keyless systems.

The information, obtained through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Nextbase, pertains to England and Wales. Analysis of the data indicates that areas with higher conviction rates include City of London (9.38%), Norfolk (7.68%), Suffolk (5.31%), Surrey (5.2%), and North Wales (5.11%). Conversely, the locations with the lowest likelihood of a car thief facing conviction are Warwickshire (0.94%), Bedfordshire (1.21%), Essex (1.31%), Wiltshire (1.54%), and Hampshire (1.62%).

The month of October 2022 recorded the highest number of total thefts, reaching 9,736, followed by November 2022 (9,392) and September 2022 (9,120). The month of August 2022 exhibited the highest average conviction rate at 2.88%, while May 2023 reported the lowest average at 1.21% across England and Wales.

Throughout the 12-month period, there was a consistent decline in the conviction rate. Out of 104,678 reported vehicle thefts from July 2022 to June 2023, only 2,215 individuals faced charges and convictions – resulting in a mere 2.12% conviction rate for car thefts in England and Wales.

Bryn Brooker, Head of Road Safety at Nextbase, expressed concern, stating, "Criminals would not be stealing this many cars if they had a higher chance of getting prosecuted. Police do what they can but are stretched and need your help, especially given the vulnerabilities of some modern cars to relay theft."

In a related development, the DVLA provided This is Money with a list of the top 10 most stolen cars of 2023. The Ford Fiesta topped the list with 5,976 thefts, followed by the Ford Focus (2,120) and the Volkswagen Golf (2,028). Other cars on the list included the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Evoque, BMW 3 Series, Vauxhall Corsa, Vauxhall Astra, and Land Rover Discovery Sport.

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