Motor vehicle thefts in Australia has been on a steady decline in the past decade, thanks in part to improvements in car security technology, particularly immobilisers in newer cars.
However, that means that older cars are more susceptible to thefts.
In 2018, 53,564 cars were stolen, that is, a car every ten minutes. The Holden Commodore was the most stolen car with 990 units taken between April 2018 to March 2019, according to a report published by Budget Direct.
Year on year Holden Commodores are among the top five most stolen cars in Australia and can make multiple appearances on the list, depending on the model.
State-by-state, Victoria had the highest amount of car thefts with 15,457. This accounted for 29% of all thefts in 2018.
Queensland had the second highest amount with 12,365, followed by New South Wales with 12,208. The Northern Territory had the lowest amount of thefts with 852.
The most common time for car thefts were Fridays between 4PM and 10PM, with 2,451 cars stolen during this period.
Of the 53,564 stolen vehicles in Australia, 38,568 (72%) were recovered while 14,996 (28%) were classified as ‘profit motivated thefts’, that is, they were not recovered, and their parts sold for a profit.
The average age of stolen cars is around 12 years old. People often believe that older cars aren’t as highly targeted by thieves compared to their newer counterparts, however 81% of stolen cars are five years or older, and 44% are between 10-19 years old.
Common types of theft
The most common form of car theft was via keys stolen during a burglary (37%) where thieves break into your home to steal car keys. A lot of times keys are left in plain sight, making it convenient for them to take.
Keys left in the ignition (18%) was the second highest form of car theft, where thieves were quick to jump behind the wheel of a running vehicle.
In third place was forced ignition/hot wiring (14%). Older cars are more susceptible to this form of theft as modern cars have immobilisers present which makes it harder to steal.
Other forms included taking the car without consent, keys stolen in a robbery, fraud, or vehicles being pushed or towed.
Ways to safeguard against car theft
There are ways you can safeguard your car from theft including:
- Closing all windows, locking doors, and taking the keys with you when you exit your car.
- Parking in a well-lit area as thieves prefer to work in the dark.
- Avoiding keeping valuables in plain sight as this serves as an open invitation for thieves.
- Switching off the engine and locking up the car even if you are stepping out momentarily or temporarily leaving the car unattended. All it takes is a split second for a thief to strike.
- Turning the wheels towards the curb so that it makes it harder for thieves to push or tow your vehicle.
- Using anti-theft instruments like a steering lock or floorboard lock.
- Locking the doors and keeping the windows up whilst you are in the car and avoiding rolling the window down for people who appear to have questions or distributing flyers.
Despite this, Australia is not in the top 10 countries with high amounts of car theft.
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