More than 4,000 cars were stolen in Northern Ireland between 2014 and 2016, according to figures released today.
Statistics obtained under the Freedom of Information Act also show the County Londonderry postcode, BT48, was a province’s hotspot for thefts.
Across the United Kingdom, just one in 10 car thefts resulted in the perpetrator being caught and charged in 2015.
At the same time, 97% of crooks who stole from a vehicle escaped a formal charge (just 2.7% were charged last year), stats published by esure car insurance show.
Over the two-year period, Northern 4,613 cars were stolen, 259 of the incidents happened in County Londonderry.
Areas in the West Midlands, Northamptonshire and Croydon (Greater London) have been identified among the top danger zones for car theft, all with over 7,000 cars stolen since January 2014 to August 2016.
Car security systems are more sophisticated than ever and one might think the process of recovering a stolen vehicle has improved.
However, once a car is stolen its owners stand little chance of ever seeing it again. In 2015 around a quarter (29%) of vehicles were recovered (circa 17,500 cars) – one in every four cars.
Jon Wilshire, Chief Underwriting Officer at esure, said: “Stealing a modern car without keys is difficult so the majority of thefts we see are when thieves get hold of car keys either by breaking into a property or stealing them from personal belongings. In addition, thieves have adapted to modern security technology, developing techniques to combat keyless entry systems and immobilisers.
“Drivers need to keep their car keys in a safe place away from windows and front doors and consider fitting a tracker if their vehicle is expensive.”