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Vehicle Theft – Supply & Demand

Vehicle Theft – Supply & Demand

April 2024 – KentOnLine reports ‘Ford Transit vans, Ford Fiestas, and Land Rover Discovery among most reported stolen in Kent‘.  Vehicle theft in Kent is at a 5-year high, almost 2,500 vehicles were reported stolen in 2023. Vehicle recovery has plummeted to about 5.5%.

‘Reported*’ stolen, ‘allegedly*’ stolen, ‘partially filled out data’ and theft methodology unavailable in a readily available format i.e. no one can say how the vehicle was believed to be taken. The theft figures are appallingly vague, the recovery rate dreadfully low and understanding of the crimes (plural) still appears lacking.

Vehicle thieves and fraudsters are understandably ‘making hay while the sun shines’.

In simple terms, if 2,500 vehicles were stolen in 1997 and 2023, we are finding (recovering) 1,600 fewer now, 4 vehicles per day more are ‘disappearing’,  If each vehicle currently has a value of £10,000 the crime is grossing criminals an additional £16million.  However, vehicle values are often substantially more than £10k!

‘Keyless Theft’, ‘Security Bypass’  etc. appear to be the latest hackneyed platitudes rolled out to avoid saying ‘nothing we can do’ (except pop the VRM on PNC LoS, sit back and hope …’) i.e. add a ‘Lost or Stolen’ (LoS) marker on the Police National Computer (PNC) against the Vehicle Registration Mark (VRM).  The explanation is possibly seen as a means to avoid recording a burglary (considered more serious and necessitating the attendance of a SoCo and possibly a detective) or asking the difficult question … ‘are you being entirely frank with me?’.

With vehicle theft reports often being closed within hours of the report, it appears there is a lack of investigation.

‘Reported’ & ‘allegedly’ stolen are very different from ‘actually’ stolen.  It appears even KentOnLine understands the difference; that not all allegations of vehicle theft are as they purport to be. Indeed, some years ago, Kent Constabulary understood this believing about 1 in 4 allegations was tainted by fraud*. Our recent attempts to understand how many vehicle thefts were ‘no-crimed’ (classified as ‘not a crime’) due to a suspicion of fraud were inconclusive.  Of the 633 car thefts in 2022, only 4 were ‘no-crimed’ and it appears only 2 could have been due to a suspicion of fraud.  By Kent’s own statistic (2000)  of about 25%, 150 of the 2022 events could have been considered suspicious.

But what is to be gained by a constabulary identifying a fraudulent report?

*not everyone tells the truth to the police.  In or about 2000, Kent police estimated 20% to 30% of vehicle theft reports were associated with fraud.  In 1997, it was understood the scale of this problem could only be estimated. Statistics indicate that about 70% of vehicles were recovered are recovered.  Of the 30% that ‘disappeared’, it was estimated:

• 25% are used for “ringing
• 40% are broken for their parts
• 20% are thought to be the subject of insurance fraud

85% total, what of the other 15% … who knows, who cares?  CMA does!