Car break-ins on the rise across the country

A thief breaks into a car during a mock-up by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in Belfast, Monday November 21, 2005. More than £1.6 million worth of property has been stolen from vehicles in Northern Ireland over the last year, police revealed today. Half of all thefts happened in residential areas, with around a quarter each in car parks and at the roadside. Audio equipment was the most regularly seized, followed by tools, car parts and handbags. See PA Story ULSTER Vehicle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA

Recent figures show that thefts from cars are increasing nationwide. The data, obtained via Freedom of Information requests by RAC Insurance, found that over half of the 42 police forces questioned had seen a rise in car break-ins in 2016 compared with 2015 – with the City of London seeing the biggest increase of 76 per cent.

However, with just 81 break-ins in 2016, the numbers don't contribute a great deal to the country as a whole – figures for which stand at 239,920 nationwide - a 4% increase over 2015's 231,222. More concerning would be the 41 per cent increase Northamptonshire Police observed – with thefts from vehicles increasing from 2,864 in 2015 to 4,043 in 2016.

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However, while 26 of the 42 forces questioned saw figures increase, numbers decreased in the remainder – in some cases by quite significant amounts. Cheshire Constabulary reported 2,284 break-ins in 2016 – a 19 per cent reduction on 2015's 2,827, and a massive 45 per cent reduction on 2013's figure of 4,185.

RAC Insurance's "It is very worrying to see that more than half of British police forces have witnessed a rise in this type of crime from 2015 to 2016."

"Breaking into cars to steal things causes motorists no end of headaches. Not only do they lose and have to try to replace their valued possessions, most will have to make an insurance claim to get their car repaired. While this can be a time-consuming and stressful process in itself, its effects will unfortunately be felt for years to come with increased annual premiums and having to declare the claim for three years whenever arranging a new car insurance policy."

The RAC warned motorists not to get complacent. "The old advice of making sure nothing of value is left on display inside a car is still as valid as ever, but it is also important when parking in public places to try to opt for well-lit and well-used spots so as to make it harder for criminals to break in without being seen," Godfrey added.

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