Car theft on the rise as thieves get clever 0

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Car theft has skyrocketed over the past three years as thieves are finding new ways to beat hi-tech security devices, new RAC figures have revealed.

This is in response to numbers falling to an all time low four years ago as car companies developed engine immobilisers and keyless technology that initially stumped car thieves.

The RAC say this points towards thieves beginning to get the better of the hi-tech security devices. Mark Godfrey, the organisation’s insurance director said that before the figures were released, the number of vehicle thefts had been declining since 2002.

“We fear thieves are now becoming more and more well equipped with technology capable of defeating car manufacturers’ anti-theft systems,” he said.

The RAC’s findings are in stark contrast to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) who says new cars have “never been more secure”.

The numbers are taken from 40 police forces across England and Wales, which showed that 85,688 vehicles were stolen in 2016 – a rise of 30% from 65,783 in 2013.

London was the hotspot for car thefts, a third of cars stolen were taken from the capital. Next up was the West Midlands, then West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

Tamzen Isacsson, director of communications and international at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “The latest technology has helped bring down theft dramatically and manufacturers invest billions to stay one step ahead of the criminals.

“However, technology can only do so much, and we continue to call for stronger safeguards to prevent the sale of cloning or signal blocking devices that have no legal purpose.”

A spokesperson for the Home Office said car thefts were at “record low levels”, according to the Crime Survey of England and Wales, which is based on people’s experiences of crime.

She said: “But we know that the methods used by criminals are constantly evolving and recognise the importance of staying one step ahead.

“That is why the Home Office brought together senior representatives from the vehicle industry and policing to improve our understanding of the nature and extent to which criminals are compromising electronic vehicle security and to develop responses to it.”

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