Australian motorists can’t seem to catch a break, as motor vehicle theft rates continue to rise.

    New research from comparison website Compare the Market has revealed almost one in 10 (8.7 per cent) Australians have had their car broken into in the last 12 months.

    This follows the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealing in June this year that motor vehicle theft and burglary increased for the second year in a row in 2022.

    Of the three types of property crime, motor vehicle theft saw the largest proportional increase of 11 per cent (up to 55,037 victims) in 2022. Burglary was up by 9 per cent (151,200 victims), as well as “other theft” which increased by 8 per cent (475,725 victims).

    In New South Wales, the state’s Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research found that following a record-low stolen vehicle figure in September 2021, in March 2023 the number of stolen vehicles in the state was higher than any month in the last six years. It increased 21 per cent year-on-year.

    The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) says it received 1760 claims for stolen vehicles across the state during the 2022-23 financial year, which was a 10 per cent increase on the previous year.

    “The number of car break-ins may be a symptom of the huge uptake of second-hand cars during the pandemic years when new car deliveries were stalled,” said Compare the Market general manager for general insurance Adrian Taylor.

    “Because new models of car have more security features, it may be easier for would-be thieves to break into older models.

    “Also, given the current economic climate, which is disproportionally affecting younger people, who we know are more likely to have older cars, we may begin to see the younger demographic being targeted by these thieves.

    “Other possible reasons as to why we could be seeing these numbers is as more people begin to live together under the same roof to conserve resources, households no longer just have one or two cars that could fit into the garage but three or four.

    “As a result, people are parking on the street or under open carports, which are not as secure for the vehicle as it would be in a locked garage.”

    Mr Taylor added if people find themselves in a position where their car has been broken into, they should catalogue the damage and where the incident took place. They should also take either videos or photos of the damage.

    He suggests once the damage has been documented that the best thing to do is file a police report. If there’s damage to the vehicle he suggests it’s best for people to file an insurance claim with their car insurer and check against their police to see if they are covered for stolen items.

    If your personal property was stolen from a break-in, including credit or debit cards, driver’s licences or other forms of ID, people should consider freezing these accounts ore requesting new ones.

    Have you been a victim of a vehicle break-in or theft over the last 12 months? Let us know in the comments below.

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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