Three out of four drivers fall victim to car crime

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The Independent Online

Nearly three-quarters of drivers have been the victims of car crime, according to a survey published yesterday.

Nearly three-quarters of drivers have been the victims of car crime, according to a survey published yesterday.

Just over half had their vehicles vandalised and nearly a fifth had their cars stolen for joy-riding. About a third have had property stolen from inside their vehicle.

The findings, from a Mori survey of 2,012 people nationwide, found big regional variations with vehicle owners in the north-west of England the most likely to have been victims of car crime. The north of Scotland was the safest place to have a car.

The north-west of England had the highest rate for thefts of cars for joy-riding (28 per cent of owners) and the top level for vandalism (62 per cent), property stolen from cars (38 per cent) and arson (7 per cent).

Other regions where there were high levels of car crime were the Glasgow area where nearly two out of five car owners had their stereos stolen. Half the vehicle owners in London had suffered vandalism. The West Country has the lowest level of vandalism with 37 per cent reporting the crime.

The study, commissioned by Direct Line insurance, found that 72 per cent of drivers nationally have experienced car crime at some time in their lives, 53 per cent have had their car vandalised, 18 per cent have had their car stolen for joy-riding and 32 per cent have had property stolen from inside their vehicle.

In the latest recorded crime figures the number of offences involving the theft of and from vehicles in England and Wales dropped by 7 per cent in the past year to about one million.

The Government has pledged to reduce car crime further. A Vehicles (Crime) Bill is currently going through the Commons. It allows fines from some motoring offences to be used to pay for more speed cameras, brings in new rules for the supply and issue of number plates and tightens salvage industry regulations.

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