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New data has revealed motor vehicle theft across Australia has increased by 11 per cent.

Recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show three specific types of property crimes soared for a second year in a row in 2022.

Out of that data set, released by the ABS on Thursday, victims of motor vehicle theft reached 55,037 last year.

The number of burglaries recorded by police also increased by nine per cent, hitting 151,200.

Recent ABS data has revealed the number of motor vehicle thefts had increased by 11 per cent in 2022. Picture: Getty Images.Other stealing offences including retail theft rose by eight per cent, with police recording 475,725 incidents in total.

In the ABS data, a victim could be a person, premises, organisation or vehicle depending on the situation. All incidents were also recorded by police.

ABS chief of crime and justice statistics William Milne said while the number of property crimes had increased in recent times, the figures were still lower than 2019.

“Victims of property crimes dropped to a record low in 2020, coinciding with the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions," Mr Milne said in a statement.

"Over the past two years, the numbers of recorded victims have been coming back up but are still lower than in 2019."

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ABS confirmed the number of property crimes recorded in 2022 were "notably higher" than 2021, which averaged between one to four per cent.

The statistics follow the number of car thefts reaching a record 10-year-high in Queensland, with police issuing a fresh plea to motorists to take extra care when securing vehicles.

According to recent data from Queensland Police, at least 55 cars are stolen each day across the state.

On Wednesday, police issued a statement urging motorists to properly secure their vehicles, particularly service logbooks, amid the spike in carjackings.

Police investigations have revealed that offenders are often targeting vehicle logbooks when breaking into cars as the book contain a significant amount of information.

Depending on the logbook, some of the details can even be used to obtain a duplicate set of keys for the vehicle, police explained.

Senior Sergeant Bruce Tracey said further analysis shows that break ins tend to happen when cars are left unsecured while parked on the street, or in a driveway.

“Most people don’t realise the large amount of information that is contained in log/service books and that it can greatly assist an offender to steal a vehicle," he said in a statement.

As a safety precaution, police advise motorists to secure their service logbooks away from the vehicle.

Car thefts and break-ins are on the rise across NSW and Sydney’s north shore, inner west and east, with social media posts of people stealing cars identified as one of the driving factors behind the trend.

Strathfield, The Hills Shire, Ryde, Hornsby and Parramatta recorded Sydney’s fastest proportional increases in stolen cars in the two years to June 2023 as rates climbed by more than 50 per cent.

But total thefts in these areas were below 800 vehicles while more than 1200 cars were stolen from Blacktown and Canterbury-Bankstown, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) data shows.

The average increase in car thefts across NSW was 23 per cent in the year to June 2023, driven at least partially by a “bounce-back” from COVID-driven crime declines of 2020 and 2021 as pandemic restrictions eased, BOCSAR executive director Jackie Fitzgerald said.

In some western and northern NSW regions “numbers are really escalating”, and social media posts encouraging vehicle theft on platforms such as TikTok may be a factor, Fitzgerald said.

Dubbed the Kia Challenge, instructional videos on social media showing how to bypass a vehicle’s security led to a spate of car thefts in the United States and a $US200 million settlement stemming from a class-action lawsuit.

A series of car crashes involving teenagers has also prompted police concern about gangs of youths breaking into houses, taking car keys and selling the stolen vehicles for a few thousand dollars.

Fitzgerald said vehicles stolen in regional NSW were more likely to be recovered in Sydney, suggesting they were opportunistic crimes for joyriding and transport. In contrast, car thefts in Sydney were more likely to be organised offences for the purposes of selling the vehicle or its parts.

NSW Police relaunched Operation Regional Mongoose in November 2022 to tackle “serious property-related crime committed predominately by young offenders” and since then, more than a dozen arrests have been made.

Charges against young people for vehicle theft in regional NSW have increased 179 per cent over the past five years, and are up 52 per cent across Greater Sydney, BOCSAR data shows.

However, this recent rise in car theft is a small bump in a decline that began more than 20 years ago.

Fitzgerald said cars manufactured before 2011 were stolen almost twice as often as newer models.

The vehicles at the highest risk of theft were Holdens, Jeeps, Land Rovers, and Audis, while Hondas and Suzukis had lower rates of theft.

Car brands with increased theft rates over the past five years include Kias, Jeeps, Isuzus, Land Rovers and Volkswagens.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said motor vehicle crimes were “largely opportunistic”, and urged residents to be vigilant with security and take measures to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of theft.

“This includes locking your vehicle, making sure valuables aren’t left on display, not leaving items in the glove box or centre console, and making sure the spare keys aren’t hidden in the car,” she said.

An NRMA Insurance spokesman said thefts were a minor contributing factor to a customer’s premium.

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Young Victorians are committing more violent and serious crimes than previously recorded, and the trend is being driven by offenders aged 14 to 17, state crime statistics released on Thursday reveal.

Among that age group, there was a more than 26 per cent increase in the 12 months to June. This included 3758 assaults, more than 1300 robberies and 1495 car thefts.

There was also a 16 per cent spike in crime overall among that age group year-on-year, which included more than 944 burglaries – up from 279 pre-pandemic.

Police also expressed concern for the 10 to 13-year-old age group where there was a 38 per cent jump in serious crimes on pre-pandemic levels. The new data shows they committed 3187 serious offences, which included 346 burglaries.

Across both age groups, the number of crimes jumped by more than 3000 to 14,898 in 12 months, the highest overall total in the past decade.

This increase in offences was reflected across all age groups, with a total of 506,408 crimes committed in the year to June – an increase of 7.9 per cent from the year prior.

Victoria Police’s Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson told 3AW that particularly concerning was the notable increase in incidences involving violence aggravated burglaries and car thefts among young people.

He said police were continuing to apply “extreme pressure” to their most serious and violent youth offenders, decreasing the number of known youth gang members in Victoria by almost 20 per cent in three years.

“However, there remains a core group of around 290 recidivist youth offenders who are the main challenge,” Paterson said in a statement.

Police say this marked a shift from previous low-level offending for this age group, including graffiti and shop theft.

Paterson said that while youth crime in Victoria had increased from the peak pandemic years, the overall crime rate had remained 1.4 per cent below pre-COVID levels.

“When factoring in population growth, overall crime is at its second-lowest levels in the past decade – only beaten by the twelve months to June 2022, which were heavily impacted by COVID restrictions,” he said.

“While this is positive, there are a number of areas of concern that Victoria Police will continue to focus on, including youth crime, home burglaries, car thefts, and firearm-related violence.”

Crime was up across all categories over the 12 months to June, except offences introduced by the chief health officer during the pandemic.

Shoplifting committed by offenders of all age groups represented the biggest increase in offences, which police say may be due to current cost-of-living pressures. Liquor, groceries and clothes were among the most common items stolen.

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There’s been a devastating end to the search for a stolen 1979 Holden Kingswood after it was found burnt out in the Yarra Ranges overnight.

Cardinia Crime Investigation Unit detectives are appealing for public assistance after a classic 1979 Holden Kingswood was stolen from a home in Pakenham last week.

A classic 1979 Holden Kingswood, stolen from a home in Pakenham last week, has been found burnt out in Menzies Creek overnight.

The heartbroken elderly owner of the Holden pleaded for its return on Tuesday, but the car has sadly been found destroyed.

A member of the public saw a car on fire near parklands near Lake Aura Vale and called triple-zero about 11.30pm Tuesday.

Emergency services attended the scene and put out the fire.

Officers who attended identified the vehicle as being the sentimental Holden.

Police have seized the car which will now undergo forensic testing.

Ross Costa, 84, who is recovering from lymphoma and battling Parkinson’s disease, was dealt another blow when his beloved car was stolen from a shed at his Army Rd Pakenham home last week.

Mr Costa had been staying with his son Alf when the theft occurred with a neighbour letting him know his car had been taken.

“It breaks my heart, I can’t accept it,” he said.

Mr Costa said the car had a flat battery and had not been driven for some time so he was unsure how the thieves took off with it.

The classic car.

A stolen Holden has been found burnt out in Menzies Creek. Picture: Clematis Fire Brigade

He said he had the best memories with the car, which he has owned since 1979, including taking it on family trips interstate.

“It never let me down,” he said.

“It has given me so much pleasure.”

He said he just wanted whoever took it to leave it on the side of the road somewhere, no questions asked.

Alf said his dad had been quite unwell and the car theft was the last thing he needed.

“At this stage of his life these type of things are not necessary,” he said.

Alf and Ross Costa, 84, who is recovering from lymphoma and battling Parkinson’s disease, had his beloved car stolen from a shed at his Pakenham property last week.

Glen Waverley Senior Constable Tanya van Praag said the theft was a gutless act.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers.

Police believe offenders gained access to the home via a window on Friday, September, 15 about 5am, and stole the car, a blue station wagon with Victorian registration plates ALO 457.

It is believed the Kingswood has been sighted by members of the public in the Drouin and Warragul areas.

Anyone with information or CCTV footage is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or ma

The number of victims of certain property crimes recorded by police, including motor vehicle theft and burglary, increased for the second year in a row in 2022, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

William Milne, ABS head of crime and justice statistics, said; “Victims of property crimes dropped to a record low in 2020, coinciding with the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions.”

“Over the past two years, the numbers of recorded victims have been coming back up but are still lower than in 2019,” Mr Milne said.

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. This was followed by burglary up 9 per cent (up to 151,200 victims) and other theft which increased by 8 per cent (up to 475,725 victims). Other theft includes offences like retail theft.

The rise in property crimes in 2022 are notably higher than the increases reported in 2021, which ranged between 1 and 4 per cent.

The number of sexual assaults recorded by police also increased in 2022, up 3 per cent to 32,146 victim-survivors.

“We found that most victim-survivors were female (84% or 26,967 victims). We also found that victim-survivors were most commonly aged between 10 and 17 years when the sexual assault occurred (42% or 13,439 victims),” Mr Milne said.

Further information about sexual assault and a range of other selected offences can be found in Recorded Crime – Victims available as a free download from the ABS website.

If you or anyone you know is in need or crisis please call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline 131 114.

Media notes

  • Recorded Crime – Victims presents statistics relating to victims of crime for a selected range of offences as recorded by police.
  • A victim for the purposes of this publication is defined by the type of offence committed. This can be a person, premises, an organisation or a motor vehicle.
  • Burglary appears as ‘unlawful entry with intent’ in the publication.
  • Other theft involves the unlawful taking of money, goods, or services, without the use of force, threat of force or violence, coercion or deception; with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive the owner or possessor of the money, goods, or services.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.

WATCH: Australia's most frequently stolen cars revealed
Car theft on Australia's east coast is rising particularly in regional areas and data has revealed the most commonly stolen vehicles.

Car brands including Toyota, Holden and Ford are the firm favourites among thieves and stolen most frequently, NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) has found.

But thieves are also targeting Kia, Jeep and Isuzu in a surprisingly sneaky new social media trend.

This comes after a crime statistics update from NSW, the nation's most populous state, found vehicle theft in regional areas was accelerating "well above" pre-pandemic levels.

BOCSAR executive director Jackie Fitzgerald said "the recent increase in vehicle theft is at least partially a bounce-back from the COVID-driven crime declines of 2020 and 2021 as pandemic restrictions eased".

The most stolen makes of car

Just three car manufacturers account for 38 per cent of stolen cars in NSW over the past year - Toyota, Holden and Ford.

But some car makes have skyrocketed in popularity with thieves over the past few years including Kia, Jeep and Land Rover, according to BOCSAR data.

Kia thefts have risen by 87.1 per cent over the past five years.

Jeep thefts were up 63.8 per cent and Land Rover thefts rose by 71 per cent over the same period.

Isuzu car thefts were up 50.8 per cent and Volkswagen thefts were up 37.3 per cent.


The social media trend

Ms Fitzgerald said another factor driving car theft may be "young people being spurred on by social media posts encouraging vehicle thefts on TikTok".

TikTok videos and Instagram videos allegedly showing how to steal cars without push-button ignitions and immobilising anti-theft devices have enjoyed a wave of popularity.

Social media is purportedly showing how thieves start Kia and Hyundai cars with nothing more than a screwdriver and a USB cable.

Holden’s sedan ranks as the most stolen car while stolen utes command the greatest value

FORD or Toyota dealers will be interested to learn that demand for their utes is not only high amongst car buyers, Ford and Toyota utes are the favourite targets of car thieves.
A national study found that Australia’s most expensive stolen vehicles were Rangers and the HiLux.

The study, by insurer Budget Direct, said the Holden Commodore VE was the highest model stolen by numbers in all but two capital cities, while the HiLux and Ranger represented the highest individual vehicle by value.

By value, $100 million worth of cars were stolen in 2021.

The study used data collected in the 2021 calendar year that showed that there were more than 20 million registered vehicles on Australian roads and that between 2020 and 2021 the national fleet increased by 1.7 per cent.

In 2021 there were more than 190,000 motor vehicle thefts and thefts from motor vehicles across Australia.

Of these, there were a total of 55,427 vehicle thefts. Brisbane and the Gold Coast recorded the highest incidence of theft. The report said that this could be attributed to Brisbane and the Gold Coast’s local government areas being much bigger than those in other cities such as Sydney.

Queensland reported the highest number of vehicle thefts during 2021 with 15,805 reported in 2021, equivalent to 3.7 thefts per 1000 vehicles.

But the Northern Territory beats that rate, with the highest theft rate of cars per 1000 vehicles at 10.1 while Adelaide tops the list at 13.8 vehicles per 1000 cars.

The Australian Capital Territory had the lowest total number of motor thefts during 2021 (1500 thefts) but when taken on a ‘by 1000 vehicle’ basis, the ACT ranked second around the country with 4.5 thefts per 1000 registered vehicles.

NSW had the lowest figure for average theft rate per 1000 vehicles with 1.8, followed by Tasmania with 2.1 and South Australia with 2.3.

The report said it used the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) data to find the top motor vehicle models that were stolen nationally in 2021.

It showed that the Holden Commodore VE (model year 2006-2013) had been stolen 898 times (Queensland showing the highest theft rate of this car at 230 thefts), with these thefts worth a total of $6,988,448.

In terms of value, there were $5.28 million worth of Ford Rangers (MY11 and later) stolen in Queensland and $4.14 million worth of utes stolen in NSW.

On the other end of the scale, Tasmanian thieves went for the Nissan Pulsar as their most preferred stolen ride with 32 thefts of the Pulsar N15 MY1995-2000 model in 2021.

The Budget Direct study also looked at the best/worst times of day for car theft. As an example, in WA the incidences of car theft are highest at 8pm-11:59pm on Fridays (236 thefts) but lowest on Wednesdays and Sundays at 4am-7:59am (69 reported in 2021).

The study said steps to make the car more difficult to steal include increasing security inside and outside the vehicle.

It said that a car that is heavily protected with security cameras inside and out, motion sensors, tyre locks and anti-theft alarms may make thieves reconsider the vehicle as a target.

Designed by Bob Lycoudis
NPM. VPM. Police Prosecutor. Sergeant Victoria Police (Retired) Inventor, Coplock Designer, Car Theft Researcher
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