Vehicle theft fell by 31% in 2020, according to new analysis by

Using the latest data gathered by the Economic Policy Centre, the figures show thefts dropped from just under 440,000 in 2019 to 304,870 the following year.

Capital offence

The Metropolitan Police Service continued to have the highest number of reported thefts. Covering 32 boroughs in the capital, there were 108,340 reports in 2020, a crime rate of 15.1 reported thefts/1,000 residents.

Meanwhile, the City of London Police, responsible for a primarily financial business district, recorded the lowest number. With just 165 thefts reported, it produces a crime rate of just 0.53/1,000 residents.


Year-on-year crimes rates (April 2019 to April 2020) were down in all areas, except Bedfordshire, which reflected the effect of the first lockdown. Drops of 40% or more in reported vehicle thefts were recorded by half of the police forces supplying data

The figures compiled by UK CrimeStats covers reported crimes from 43 police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Vehicle theft refers to taking items from a vehicle or stealing the vehicle itself.

Responding to the new data, Greg Wilson, founder of, says the drop is “not surprising” during lockdown. However, he says that “the scale of the fall is still dramatic and it’s a welcome development”.

Take care

Wilson also believes the figures reveal the need to take appropriate precautions even during episodes such as lockdowns. “There will be many areas that remain crime hotspots, particularly in big cities. It’s worth taking extra precautions, such as keeping cars in locked garages or on driveways overnight, in order to reduce risk and possibly lower insurance premiums in both rural and urban areas.”

If you find yourself to be a victim of car crime, ensure you call the police and your insurer as quickly as possible. Take photos and avoid touching anything at the scene. If you have CCTV on your home, this can be incredibly useful if your car is stolen from your garage, drive or road outside your home.