Vehicle vandalism up across England and Wales

Vehicle vandalism up across England and Wales
Over 210,000 vehicles fell victim to vandalism last year – a 10% increase on the number of incidents recorded in 2013.

Data seen by RAC Insurance confirmed that England and Wales has experienced a significant upsurge in criminal damage to vehicles, which includes smashed wing mirrors and slashed tyres.

RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey labelled vandalism “one of the most frustrating and annoying crimes” and warned that the true number of cases is likely much higher, with many drivers afraid to claim on their car insurance for fear of a premium rise.

Others will simply not report the crimes to the police.

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In total, 210,418 vehicles were reported to have been vandalised in 2016, with snapped windscreen wipers, broken windows and deliberate scratches also among the damage caused.

This figure is 19,238 higher than three years ago.

Of the 40 police forces that responded to RAC Insurance’s Freedom of Information request (FOI), Greater Manchester Police had dealt with the largest increase in reported cases, up a staggering 37% over the three-year-period.

The area also recorded the highest number of related offences outside London – which had 26,064 last year, equating to 12% of all cases across the country.

In total, 24 of the forces recorded a rise in the number of vehicle vandalism cases recorded, while 12 forces experienced a drop. Gloucestershire presided over the biggest decline at 17% with 1,907 incidents last year.

 

Only Surrey Police saw no change in the volume of such cases.

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RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey said: “Just a moment of selfish intentional criminal damage causes vehicle owners no end of grief.”

He reminds any vehicle owner unlucky enough to be on the receiving end of vandalism to take pictures, alert the police and get a crime reference number to help with any subsequent insurance claim.

“Not only do many motorists who experience this have to go through the insurance claims process and the time-consuming and inconvenient experience of getting the vehicle repaired, they will also suffer an inevitable premium rise and then have to declare the claim for three years whenever they apply for a new policy,” Mr Godfrey added.

“The cost of repairing vehicles is now greater than it’s ever been and this has had an impact on the price of car insurance. Sadly though, this is just one factor that is causing average premiums to go up.

“The others include insurance fraud from staged accidents and dubious whiplash claims, insurance premium tax doubling to 12% in two years and the change to the discount rate for life-changing personal injury compensation claims.”

Copyright Press Association 2017. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.