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Revealed: the car theft hotspots of the UK

The UK has seen 61,746 vehicle thefts in the last two years – that’s a lot of people who’ve become victims of crime. But do you know where the biggest theft hotspots are? And how best can you protect your vehicle from being stolen? We explore this and more.

Birmingham West has the highest number of vehicle thefts

Birmingham West ranks highest for vehicle thefts, with 1,375 in 2020 and 1,730 in 2019. In second and third place are other major cities, Liverpool and Sheffield, with Birmingham East and Doncaster making up the rest of the top five.

With most of us cooped up in our homes for the last 12 months, you’d think that vehicle theft would have reduced over the last year – but that’s not the case everywhere. In some places, theft actually increased in 2020. Doncaster is a prime example of this, with 739 vehicle thefts in 2019 and 796 in 2020.

It’s a similar situation in Sandwell, in the West Midlands, and Rotherham, which respectively had an extra 22 and 58 vehicles stolen in 2020 compared to 2019.

How to protect your car against theft

To reduce the risk of your car being stolen, it’s important to make sure it’s protected at all times. These top tips are simple to follow but will help keep your car safe and secure.

1. Always keep your vehicle locked

You need to lock your car whenever you leave it – even if you’ve parked it on your driveaway and are just nipping into your home for a minute to grab something.

You should also make sure your car is locked when you’re driving so that no one can jump in.

2. Never leave valuables in the car

Not every thief will want to steal your car – they may just want to steal what’s inside, especially if they see an expensive phone or laptop lying around in plain view.

If you can’t take your valuables with you when you’re out of the car, keep them locked in the boot or glove compartment, firmly out of sight.

3. Avoid areas known for high crime

If you’re driving from A to B and know that the quickest route is through an area of town that’s notorious for crime, then avoid it where possible and stick to main roads – even if it adds extra time to your journey.

4. Park in a space that’s in clear view

When you leave your car in a car park, avoid the temptation to park in the first space you see. Instead, opt for a space that’s in full public view and is well-lit or near CCTV cameras. Not only will this deter thieves from targeting your car, but if they do there’s a better chance of them being caught.

5. Consider a car alarm or tracking device

If your car hasn’t already been fitted with an alarm, then get one sorted – it could stop an opportunist from even considering your car, or if they do, the sound should scare them off.

And while a tracking device won’t prevent your car from being stolen, it should make it easier for the police to track it down and return it to you.

Although there are measures you can take to reduce the chance of your car being stolen, it can’t be 100% protected. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you take out car insurance covers that covers theft.

Brought to you by the car insurance experts at


Data was taken from Freedom of Information requests (FOI) to police forces across the UK during May 2021 and is based on 26 responses, covering data from 2019 and 2020.
FOI data could have been sourced from a live operating system, reflecting on a specific moment in time and is subject to change as incidents are finalised. In other words, incidents may be initially recorded under a specific category but change with new information.