Car Crime: How Safe Is Your Car?

Are we losing the fight against car crime? With figures rising and conviction rates falling (only 5% of all stolen vehicles result in someone being charged) is enough being done to protect our cars?

Rav Wilding investigates the difficulties car owners, manufacturers and the police have in keeping the public and their vehicles safe in the face of thieves who are well organised and have the technological know-how to keep one step ahead of developments made in security systems. 

In this programme, we look at what is being done to fight back against these gangs who all too often elude justice. 

We hear from victims of car crime like Robert who had his Land Rover stolen in Clapham, South London. Despite calling the police, noone came to investigate the crime. 

“I think there is a lack of emphasis on car crime. It is a crime just like any other crime. And these people are running it as a business and that business needs to be stopped.” -  

Figures show that although thefts  are falling compared to the 1990s figures are back on the rise again following lockdown. In addition, thieves are diversifying and now taking catalytic converters, electric charging cables and even air bags which can all be sold for profit on the black market. 

The AA says vehicle crime isn’t enough of a priority for the police and criminals are getting away scot free. 

West Midlands has the highest car crime rate in the country - it’s so bad they have made it a force priority. We join officers from Operation Cantil for a night on patrol, targeting the areas where cars are being stolen and also areas where the cars are being dumped. 

We also hear from the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Midlands who is calling on manufacturers to do more to improve security on their vehicles. 

"I  want the government to start publishing a car theft index that's an index of those cars that are most likely to be stolen. And I want them to do that so that consumers can make an informed choice when they come to purchase a vehicle." Simon Foster, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Midlands

To find out what motor manufacturers are doing we go to Thatcham in Berkshire where they demonstrate how thieves are bypassing keyless technology and what is being done to plug this security hole. 

Finally we’ll hear what drivers can do to keep their cars safe - about developments in after market technology and the invention of a ghost immobiliser system,  as well as more basic solutions like crook locks and steering wheel locks .

Rav Wilding investigates in Car Crime: How Safe Is Your Car? on ITV at 8:30pm #ITVTonight