Revealed: the car crime capital of England and Wales

Updated: 

Manchester

If you want to keep your car safe, keep it out of central Manchester - and steer clear of Bradford and London while you're at it. They were revealed as the top three hotspots for car crime in a new census of crime across the country.

So which areas made the top ten, and how can you protect yourself?




The hotspots

Car experts at the honestjohn.co.uk website used a series of Freedom of Information Act requests to pinpoint vehicle crime - where it was happening, and what sorts of crime were being committed.

From the police forces that responded, the website pinpointed Manchester as the car crime hotpot, with 505 in every 10,000 cars being a victim over 12 months. Second on the list was Bradford, with 457 crimes per 10,000 cars, and third was London with 443 crimes per 10,000 cars.

Top ten cities

Manchester
Bradford
London
Leeds
Sheffield
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Birmingham
Liverpool
Cardiff
Bristol

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Why?

The study found that your car is more at risk at the centre of a city - with an average of 242 crimes per 10,000 cars compared to an overall average of 121. This may be because there are more areas with larger numbers of cars - which make it worth a thief's time to browse for vulnerable vehicles. They are often home to shopping centres too - so criminals can keep an eye out for cars filled with shopping.

It could also be because there are more people walking by in the city - and therefore more opportunistic thefts. It is also easier for a thief to blend in - so no-one notices them checking out a number of cars.

Peter Harrison, car insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, adds: "While there are clearly some areas of the country with a higher proportion of insurance claims for car crime than others, this doesn't actually mean the area is rife with crime. Thieves often specifically target areas with a high number of cars parked on the street, such as urban areas where space is at a premium and fewer houses have garages."

The study also drilled down into specific postcodes. M2 (the centre of Manchester) was followed by L1 (the centre of Liverpool), BD1(the centre of Bradford) and then B4 (the centre of Birmingham near Snow Hill).

The most stolen cars in 2012

The most stolen cars in 2012


How can you protect yourself?

You could always just swear off driving into big cities to reduce your odds of being a victim of crime, but that might not be practical

Harrison says: "No matter where you live or where you drive, there is always a chance you become a victim of car theft and vandalism, so motorists should take precautions when it comes to security. Ideally, try and park in a driveway or garage if you can. This is obviously not always possible, so if you're parking on the street, look for busier roads with a good amount of lighting and more passing traffic. If you're parking on the street at home, try and park the car near to your house and again, look for good lighting and think about how the area might look in the dark - thieves could be less likely to target your car if they can be seen by other people, so parking under a streetlight is a good idea.

The simple things are most effective, such as making sure you always lock the car and leave any valuables or bags out of sight. Installing an alarm or steering wheel lock can also put off criminals looking for an easy target.

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