One of the few benefits of the pandemic has been that car thefts have fallen dramatically compared to before the appearance of Covid-19.
Indeed, car lease website LeaseLoco made a Freedom of Information Request to the DVLA, and found that up until November 30 last year, 43,603 vehicles were reported stolen to the police.
When the full-year figures come in, experts believe the tally will surpass 2020's 46,876 thefts, but will still be far lower than 2019's 58,642.
In other words, more than 10,000 fewer cars have been stolen annually since the pandemic began.
Of course, this will be of little comfort to the thousands who have had their vehicles stolen. According to data from the Office for National Statistics, only 2 in 5 cars are ever returned to their owners.
Credit: Ivan Kurmyshov - stock.adobe.com
How did car thieves' tastes change in 2021?
Pre-pandemic, the Ford Fiesta was the most-stolen vehicle in the UK, a position it retained in 2021. It should be noted that the Ford Fiesta is also one of the most common vehicles on UK roads (if not the most common), so its position may be as much down to its ubiquity as to its desirability.
And just as it was a prime target among criminals in 2019, the Range Rover Sport is still popular in 2021, occupying 2 of the top 10 spots. However, while the luxury SUV is much sought after among criminals, it is only the 14th most common vehicle on our roads, suggesting desirability is the bigger factor.
Stolen Range Rovers often end up being exported to Eastern Europe, being given false plates and being sold on in the UK, or being stripped for parts.
Here's a rundown of the most stolen models in the UK in 2021:
- Ford Fiesta Zetec - 418 stolen
- Ford Fiesta Titanium Turbo - 351 stolen
- Range Rover Sport HSE SDV6 - 315 stolen
- Ford Fiesta Titanium X - 311 stolen
- Ford Fiesta ST-2 Turbo - 300 stolen
- Ford Fiesta ST-3 Turbo - 272 stolen
- Ford Fiesta Titanium - 241 stolen
- Ford Fiesta Zetec Turbo - 204 stolen
- Range Rover Sport HSE Dynamic SDV6 - 174 stolen
- BMW 520D M Sport - 131 stolen
There are a number of steps car owners can take to minimise the chances of becoming a victim of crime.
- Double check your vehicle is locked - especially at night
- Upgrade your security: think, alarm, immobiliser, tracking system
- Consider a steering wheel lock as an added deterrent
- Store keys away from windows, doors (letter boxes)
- Don’t leave car running with keys in ignition
- Consider buying a signal-blocking pouch to block radio signals from the keyless entry system