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UK’s Top 10 car crime and road safety city hotspots

Vandalism, car crime and road safety concerns combined make London the worst city to keep your car, according to new research.

The latest insight from insurer Rias, which analyses 2016 police data with claims data and consumer research, shows that whilst London doesn’t have the highest level of car crime in the UK, when combined with car vandalism and people’s perception of road safety in their area, it tops the list for car crime and road safety concern.

Manchester is revealed as having the highest UK level of car crime, while Liverpool has low car vandalism rate and high perception of safe roads by residents.

City Percentage of car owners who have had a car vandalised whilst parked in their home city No. of car crimes per 10,000 registered cars Percentage of residents who think their roads are unsafe Overall Rank
London 33% (1) 162 (3) 39% (=3) 1
Bradford 7% (7) 176 (2) 64% (1) 2
Leeds 13% (=2) 113 (6) 39% (=3) 3
Manchester 8% (6) 198 (1) 29% (7) 4
Birmingham 11% (4) 89 (7) 38%(6) 5
Sheffield 4% (=9) 122 (5) 39% (=3) 6
Bristol 11% (8) 76 (9) 44% (2) 7
Edinburgh 9% (5) 86 (8) 25%(8) =8
Glasgow 13% (=2) 48 (10) 18%(=9) =8
Liverpool 4% (=9) 152 (4) 18%(=9) 10

Data taken from official police figures and the ONS vehicle licensing register

In terms of the number of car crimes committed, Bradford (176 car crimes per 10,000 cars) ranks as second, with London (162 car crimes per 10,000 cars) coming in third.

In contrast, people are four times less likely to suffer from car crime in Glasgow compared with Manchester (48 versus 198 per 10,000 cars), which is the safest city for car crime out of the top 10 most populated cities in the UK. Bristol has the second lowest car crime rate at 76 crimes per 10,000 registered cars.

While London sits in the top half for overall car crime, it tops the table for car vandalism by a significant margin. A third (33%) of London car owners have had their vehicle damaged or vandalised while parked in the capital. This is significantly higher than Glasgow and Leeds (both 13%) or Birmingham and Bristol (both 11%).

However, it appears moving cars are generally better off in London where six out of 10 (61%) London motorists describe the roads as ‘safe’. Four out of five of Glasgow’s motorists (82%) describe the roads as safe.

Bradford seems to have the least safe roads out of the top 10 most populated cities in the UK, with only a third (36%) considering their roads safe. Bradford motorists cite local drivers ignoring the speed limits (54%) as the most prominent reason for the city being considered an unsafe place to drive.

Rias also undertook further research to find out people’s perceptions of the clocks going back and impact on street crime and car theft. As a result of the nights getting darker earlier, almost one quarter (24%) felt there would be a negative effect on street crime, and just over a fifth (21%) believed there would be the same
effect on car thefts.

It appears these fears may not be unfounded. According to Rias claims data, over the past three years on average there has been a 78% rise in the number of motor insurance claims from the day before the clocks go back to the day after.

“Wherever you park your car, having the right level of cover is essential in maintaining peace of mind,” said Adam Clarke of Rias. “While official data appears to show that some cities have higher vehicle crime rates than others, people should always be mindful of crime in their city, town or village and not get complacent even the
crime rate is low.”

“And when the clocks go back, being more alert to other road users is essential to avoid unfortunate accidents whilst you’re out and about.”

Top tips from Rias to protect your car include:

  • Never leave valuables on show in a parked car – they make a tempting target for smash and grab opportunists.
  • Anti-theft devices do a great job of deterring thieves. Having some kind of measures in place makes your car a much more difficult target.
  • Turning your wheels towards the kerb when parked can also deter thieves who are discouraged by a car that will take more time to drive away.
  • Be sure your car is locked before walking away – this mistake is more common than people think.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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