Man approaching a car in a dark carpark

Car Theft Capitals: Where Do Most Cars Get Stolen?

Outside of keeping your car fuelled, clean and in good working order, one of the main concerns for drivers is always going to be the risk of your car getting stolen. 

Often resulting in the owner never seeing the car again, or the motor being joyridden and crashed, meaning it needs to end up in the scrap yard. 

However, like with other types of crime, there are places where your car is more likely to get stolen than others, with grand theft auto particularly prevalent in certain cities. But where is worst for it?  

With modern drivers now taking to Twitter to tweet about their stolen car in search of any leads, we decided to analyse regional data from the social media platform, to find where sees the highest levels of people taking to Twitter in search of their stolen car. 

Where Do Most Cars Get Stolen in the UK? 

Looking at key cities across the United Kingdom, it’s Glasgow that takes the unfortunate crown of the car theft capital of the UK, with more than 2,000 people taking to Twitter to tweet about their stolen car. This is maybe somewhat unsurprising given the news that ‘car theft gangs’ operate in the area, with one group recently being connected to almost 30 separate vehicle thefts. 

Brighton and Belfast follow, while London ranked outside of the top (or bottom, however you look at it!) ten, as the 21st worst city for car thefts in the UK. 

Rank City Number of tweets related to car theft 
Glasgow 2,078 
Brighton 1,993 
Belfast 1,901 
Derby 1,898 
– Portsmouth 1,898 
Cardiff 1,886 
Bristol 1,803 
Northampton 1,797 
Edinburgh 1,796 
Bradford 1,793 
10 Hull 1,792 
11 Newcastle 1,696 
12 Nottingham 1,693 
13 Liverpool 1,598 
14 Plymouth 1,531 
15 Leeds 1,503 

The likes of Portsmouth, Cardiff and Bristol also feature in the list, all with more than 1,500 drivers tweeting about their cars having been stolen in the cities. 

Where Do Most Cars Get Stolen in the USA? 

Car theft is a worldwide issue, with every single country experiencing it on some level. The United States for one, has long been a country where car crime can be a particular issue, with dangerous high speed police chases becoming a notorious fixture of American news broadcasting. 

On a state-by-state level, its Michigan that ranks as the worst state for car crime. Ironically known as ‘The Motor City’ due to it being the home of the American automobile industry, with Detroit, Michigan having been one of the world’s leading producers of cars, it unfortunately seems that in 2022 the state is seeing more car crime than sales. 

Surprisingly, Hawaii also features in the top five. A state known by many around the world as a tropical holiday location, locals might actually be less surprised by the state’s high ranking, with beach-side car theft in particular, reportedly a major problem. 

Rank State Number of tweets related to car theft 
Michigan 2,173 
Tennessee 2,084 
Washington 2,053 
Hawaii 1,930 
Idaho 1,905 
Texas 1,879 
Iowa 1,825 
Indiana 1,811 
Alaska 1,802 
10 Vermont 1,795 

Which Capital Cities See The Most Car Theft? 

When talking about car thefts capitals, we couldn’t not take a look at which actual capital cities suffer from carjacking issues the most. Again, by analysing tweets from capital cities around the world, there was no surprise that some of the most visited, populous capital cities ranked highly. All being popular tourist destinations, the data does provide a word of warning if you plan to hire a car while on holiday in one of these locations! 

Rank City Number of tweets related to car theft 
Cairo, Egypt 2,000 
Athens, Greece 1,899 
Rome, Italy 1,800 
Singapore 1,697 
Amsterdam, Netherlands 1,599 
New York City, USA 1,531 
Ottawa, Canada 1,519 
Canberra, Australia 1,511 
Dublin, Ireland 1,510 
10 London, England 1,486 

How to Protect Your Car From Getting Stolen 

If you’re reading this from one of the locations outlined above or simply don’t want your beloved car to get stolen, there’s some things you can do safeguard it a little more.  

Our Managing Director Dan Gick says: “The unfortunate thing about owning something nice in today’s world, is that there is likely someone out there who would want to steal it from you, and this couldn’t be truer when it comes to our cars. 

Vehicle theft takes place every single day, so it’s something all drivers need to be mindful of, and to take the right precautions wherever you leave your car”. 

1. Park somewhere sensible 

Whenever you park your car, it’s best to put yourself in the shoes of a thief. What would they look for? Criminals are always on the lookout for an easy target, so if you’re parking your car in a secluded, unlit area where there’s likely to be no witnesses, your car will instantly be a target for them. 

If your drive is in a dark, secluded corner, it could be worth considering purchasing a movement-activated spotlight or surveillance camera as a deterrent. Always park somewhere with high visibility.  

2. Double check it’s locked 

If you’ve developed a habit of walking away from your car before pressing the ‘lock’ button on your key fob, then it could one day really pay off to get into a new habit of locking it while you’re stood next to it, and manually checking it’s locked. 

As with any form of tech, it can fail, especially if your car is an older model where other components have failed over time. You shouldn’t take it for granted that the button has worked, and instead double check yourself.

A thief will always check to see if the door is already unlocked before breaking in, and can often get lucky! 

3. Hide belongings 

Some thieves might not only be looking to steal your car, but also what’s inside of it. It goes without saying but you should never leave any valuables on show inside your car. Make use of the glovebox, boot or better yet – take them with you. 

A shopping bag with nothing of worth inside of it could still appear to contain something of value to a thief, so you should hide anything that could look valuable/like it may have valuables inside.  

4. Use visible deterrents  

We mentioned earlier about thieves looking for an easy target, as they don’t want to attempt stealing a car when it’s going to take too long, or open up the opportunity for them to get caught. 

With that in mind, more old-school deterrents such as a steering wheel lock have made a comeback, and are well worth investing in. 

5. Take care with your keys 

It doesn’t just come down to what’s inside your car and how it’s locked, because you should always consider the whereabouts of your keys too. Especially in the summer, leaving your keys in a visible position such as on the dining room table can be a calling card for opportunistic thieves, who will try their luck through an open window or patio door. 

Outside of this though, more advanced thieves can prey upon the technology of your keys. If you use keyless entry, you could fall foul of a ‘relay attack’ which involves the criminals using technology that ‘tricks’ your car into thinking your key is near it. To avoid this, you can: 

  • Turn off wireless signals on your key fob when not in use 
  • When at home, keep your key well away from the car 
  • Place your keys in a screened/signal-blocking pouch, such as a Faraday Bag 

6. Keep important documents at home 

It might seem like it makes perfect sense to keep your logbook or service records in your car, however in the event of your car being stolen, this will make it easier for the car to be sold and open the door for you becoming a victim of identity fraud. As with valuables like tech and jewellery, keep all important documents safe at home. 

What To Do If Your Car Does Get Stolen? 

But what if the worst actually does happen, and your car gets stolen? There are three main things you should always do, starting with: 

  • Call the police on 101: they will put you through to your local police station, where you will need to report your car as stolen, and provide them with the make, model, colour and registration number. They will also give you a crime reference number which you will need to start an insurance claim. 
  • Call your insurance provider: following your call to the police, contact your insurance provider to start your insurance claim 
  • Contact the DVLA: If your claim is successful, you need to let the DVLA know that you are no longer the registered owner of the car, due to it being stolen and essentially ‘purchased’ by your insurance company. You can do this by post or online. 

However, if like many, you find your car crashed after being stolen for a joyride and its beyond repair, the best option could be to scrap your car. If so, we’ll be able to help each step of the way.

For more tips, advice and useful info, check out our blog

Methodology 

We analysed 257,268 tweets from Twitter using the social media analysis tool Octoparse. The total number of tweets including key terms such as “car was stolen” in countries and cities around the world, was sorted from highest to lowest to reveal the locations with the most car thefts in the particular location. 

Data correct as of July 2022. 

 
 

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