The worst place to own a car in the UK - car crime, vandalism, and poor driving hotspots

Sarah Coles
Car burning, nightshot
Car burning, nightshot

The worst place to own a car in the UK is London. Quite aside from the horrors of parking, congestion and extortionate parking permits, Rias insurers have identified it as a hotbed of car crime too. And things are about to get worse.

The level of vandalism is shocking, as one in three car owners have had their car vandalised while parked in London - streets ahead of the next worst places for vandalism (Leeds and Glasgow both at 13%). London is also third worst for car crime (after Manchester and Leeds), and takes third place for unsafe roads (after Bradford and Bristol).

Rias looked at the level of car crime in the UK's ten most populous cities, and ranked them from the worst place to own a car to the best:


The worst place for car crime emerged as Manchester (with 198 crimes per 10,000 cars) followed by Bradford (176), London (162), Liverpool (152), and Sheffield (122).

The top five for vandalism emerged as London, Leeds, Glasgow, Birmingham and Edinburgh. And the top five for unsafe roads emerged as: Bradford, Bristol, London, Leeds and Sheffield.

Getting worse

These figures make for alarming reading, especially when you consider the fact that we can expect the number of car crimes to rise now that the clocks have gone back and the nights will be getting darker earlier and earlier. The Rias research found that people already feel less safe, as almost one quarter (24%) felt there would be a negative effect on street crime, and just over a fifth (21%) believed there would be the same effect on car thefts.

According to Rias claims data, over the past three years on average there has been a 78% rise in the number of motor insurance claims from the day before the clocks go back to the day after. This isn't just a rise in car crime, because when the nights draw in earlier, more drivers have accidents whilst on the road too.

The insurer says it's essential to take sensible precautions. This means ensuring there are never any valuables on display - to deter smash and grab robberies, installing anti-theft devices, and making sure your car is locked each time you leave it.

It's also a good idea to make sure your car is left in a well-lit area, as close as possible to your home, ideally off the road. Of course, as any city-dweller will tell you, that's often easier said than done.