3 in 4 car theft cases fail to identify a suspect

3 in 4 car theft cases fail to identify a suspect
Vehicle theft has reached its highest rate in eight years, but most police investigations don’t identify a suspect, a worrying new study shows.

The Press Association’s analysis reveals 106,334 car thefts recorded in 2017/18, the highest annual figure since 2009/10.

But a staggering 81,788 (77%) of these cases had to be closed with no suspect identified.

The RAC says drivers will be rightly shocked by the continued rise in thefts, as dedicated police resource for investigating such crimes continue to decline.

READ MORE: Latest figures show 9,000 surge in vehicle break-ins

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The study found that West Midlands Police closed 95% of all car theft investigations without a suspect being found, while the Metropolitan Police didn’t identify an individual in 85% of cases.

The highest figure was recorded by the City of London Police, which closed 96% of cases without a suspect, although the force recorded the smallest number of thefts at 54.

The report shows that all but five police forces across the UK closed over half of car theft cases without identifying a suspect.

PA looked at Home Office crime data for motor vehicle theft and residential burglary, covering the 12 months to March this year.

SEE ALSO: Car security — how to stop thieves

In response to the investigation, RAC Insurance spokesperson Simon Williams warned that the figures show thieves have found ways around car security systems.

He said: “The fact fewer suspects are being identified is very worrying and no doubt a symptom of the declining number of police officers and the resulting reduction in time that can be dedicated to investigating these crimes.

“As cars are being stolen by professional gangs with the necessary skills and equipment, the overall number of thefts would reduce dramatically if just a few could be tracked down and prosecuted.

“While those directly affected by this crime will have to pay higher insurance premiums, there is also a nasty side effect for every motorist as it is very likely to make their insurance policies more expensive.”

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.

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