Car thefts – don’t get caught on holidays

The last thing you want to think about at holiday time is having your car stolen. Yet 20% of all car crimes happen in December and January and 60% of car thefts happen while the car is parked at home. Remember you can take steps to deter thieves this holiday break.

How many car thefts and where

According to CarSafe Australia, thieves stole 55,293 vehicles in Australia in 2018-19. While this was 2,620 more cars than in 2017-18, the rate of car theft is fairly stable.

The most dangerous state in Australia for your car is Queensland. Top on the list is Brisbane, where 2,363 vehicles were stolen in 2018-19.

  Area Number stolen
1 Brisbane, Qld 2,363
2 Gold Coast, Qld 1,612
3 Logan, Qld 1,176
4 Moreton Bay, Qld 992
5 Hume, Vic 923

However, looking at raw numbers does not allow for the different number of registered vehicles in each state or territory. So it’s more useful to look at theft rate per 1,000 registrations. Using this measure, Northern Territory easily tops the list for vehicle theft.

Theft rate per 1,000 registrations
NT 5.30
ACT 3.36
WA 3.30
Qld 3.08
Vic 2.97
Tas 2.48
SA 2.24
NSW 2.16
Aus 2.76

This table show theft rates in Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales were below the Australian average of 2.76. Northern Territory was nearly double the average and still well above the next highest, in Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia.

Which cars do thieves want?

In 2018-19, Holden Commodore VE 2006-13 was again easily the most popular choice for thieves (1,011 stolen). Second were Toyota Hilux 2005-11 (677) and Nissan Pulsar 1995-2000 (664).

A national survey of drivers found over half thought thieves were young people stealing for a short-term purpose and a third thought the most common method was stealing the keys.

In fact, most thieves steal keys through home burglary. This is why it make sense to burglar-proof your home as well as your car.

Look after your keys

For those who use car keys (or any other kind of key) always store them out of view and away from doors and windows. The first place thieves like to go is the master bedroom, followed by the living room and home office.

Never leave spare keys inside your house or in your car and never tag them with your name and address.

Those owners with keyless entry to their vehicles also need to protect themselves from the rise in keyless theft. Read more about keyless theft here.

Remember compulsory third party insurance does not cover your vehicle for theft. To cover your vehicle, you need to have fire and theft insurance or comprehensive insurance.

Corrina Baird

Writer and expert

Corrina used to lend her car to her kids and discovered first hand what Ls, Ps and demerits mean for greenslips. After 20 years of writing and research in financial services, she’s an expert in the NSW CTP scheme. Read more about Corrina

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