Where Do All The Stolen Cars Go? A Comprehensive Look At Car Theft In 2023


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Where Do All The Stolen Cars Go

Have you ever wondered where all the stolen cars go? You may have heard about car theft on the news or seen statistics about the rising cases of vehicle theft, but have you ever really delved into what happens to a stolen vehicle once it’s out of sight?

In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore the world of car theft, including statistics, chop shops, exporting stolen cars, and the role of online reselling.

By the end, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of this troubling phenomenon that continues to perplex and baffle both law enforcement and vehicle owners.

Statistics of Stolen Cars in the U.S. and UK

In the modern world, car theft is an all-too-common occurrence. The statistics can be alarming:

  • In the U.S.: There were approximately 810,000 cases of vehicle theft in 2020, out of about 287 million cars. That’s a theft rate of 246 per 100,000 people!
  • In the UK: The same year saw 89,000 cases, with a theft rate of 132 per 100,000.

These numbers shed light on the fact that car theft is not just a localized issue; it’s a global concern affecting both sides of the Atlantic.

Chop Shops and Their Function

Have you ever heard of chop shops? These illegal garages play a significant role in the car theft arena. Here’s how:

  • What They Do: Chop shops disassemble stolen cars to sell the parts. It’s a fact that cars are often worth more as parts than as a whole, making them attractive to thieves.
  • Efficiency: Expert chop shops can strip a car in less than three hours. Yes, you read that right! Older cars with custom accessories are targeted.
  • Impact on Thefts: Interestingly, the presence of chop shops increases the likelihood of car theft in regions where they operate.

Changes and Difficulties in Chopping Cars

Despite their prevalence, chopping cars is not as easy as it once was. Thanks to advancements in technology:

  • Security Features: Modern vehicles come equipped with transponders and VIN stamping in multiple places, making chopping much harder.
  • Unique Codes: Technology like unique manufacturer codes has added difficulties in disassembling cars.
  • Lower Chances: As a result, the chance of a car ending up in a chop shop has become fairly low. A small victory, perhaps?

Stolen Cars Being Exported

High-value cars don’t always end up in chop shops. Instead, they might be:

  • Exported: Particularly to Russia, Africa, Asia, and Europe through organized crime.
  • Used in Insurance Fraud: Insurance fraud is another means of sourcing these vehicles.
  • Less Risk in America: Compared to Europe, the risk is less in America, depending on proximity to a border or major port.

These insights reveal the global reach of car theft and the sophistication of criminals involved in this illicit trade.

Online Reselling and Recovery Rates

In the digital age, platforms like Craigslist, Facebook, and eBay provide easy ways for thieves to sell stolen vehicles.

Preventing Car Theft in 2023: Keyless Systems and More

The alarming rise in car theft has led to a focus on preventive measures. What does that look like in 2023, especially when it comes to new technologies like keyless entry systems?

Keyless Car Thefts

The advent of keyless cars has brought both convenience and new challenges:

  • Keyless Theft: Thieves have adapted to technology, finding ways to steal a keyless car, sometimes even using signal boosters.
  • Preventing Theft: Utilising steering wheel locks, tracking devices, and ensuring a well-lit area for parking can significantly deter theft.
  • Car Brands and Models: Some cars are more likely to be stolen, including high-end brands like BMW and Audi, and popular models like BMW 3 Series.

Vehicle Tracking and Other Measures

  • Vehicle Tracking: Implementing tracking devices can help in quick recovery.
  • Keeping Keys Safe: Inside your home, using pouches to block signals can prevent thieves from unlocking and starting your vehicle.
  • Increased Security: CCTV, driveway alarms, and additional security can make your car less attractive to thieves.

The battle against car theft is evolving, and both manufacturers and car owners must be vigilant to keep up with the ever-changing landscape.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Many Cars Are Stolen Every Day in the UK?

Approximately 159 vehicles, including cars, vans, and motorbikes, were reported stolen each day on average in the 12-month period between March 2022 and March 2023, totaling 58,082 missing vehicles.

What Are the Most Commonly Stolen Cars in the UK?

The most commonly stolen car makes in the UK include Land Rovers, with one in every hundred being stolen between March 2022 and March 2023. Thieves are also targeting SUVs, particularly Mercedes-Benz vehicles, with a high theft rate of 924 thefts per 100,000. Other targeted models include Ford, BMW, and Audi. Black is the most commonly stolen car color according to the data.

How Can I Protect My Keyless Car from Being Stolen?

Car manufacturers like Jaguar Land Rover are implementing measures to counter organized crime, including technology like UWB (ultra-wideband) to prevent ‘relay attacks’ and Secure Tracker vehicle tracking systems. Industry-leading security systems and technology such as UWB and vehicle tracking systems are also being integrated into production vehicles to prevent theft.

Protecting a keyless car can be done through various means:

  • Using a steering wheel lock.
  • Storing keys in a metal container or a signal-blocking pouch to prevent relay attacks.
  • Installing a tracking system.
  • Parking in well-lit areas or secure garages.
  • Keeping the vehicle’s software up to date.

Are Vehicle Tracking Systems Effective?

Yes, vehicle tracking systems like Secure Tracker are considered effective and are being used by car manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover as part of their countermeasures against theft.

What’s the Risk of Buying a Stolen Car Online?

Buying a stolen car online can lead to serious legal and financial consequences. If you unknowingly purchase a stolen vehicle, it may be seized by the authorities, and you could lose the money you paid. To minimize this risk:

  • Check the vehicle’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) against databases of stolen cars.
  • Purchase from reputable dealers.
  • Insist on seeing proper documentation, such as the logbook and proof of ownership.
  • Consider having the vehicle inspected by a professional before purchase.

Final Thoughts

The world of car theft is complex, ever-evolving, and still a significant concern in 2023. From chop shops to exporting cars abroad and online reselling, the destinations of stolen cars are as varied as they are troubling.

With advancements like keyless entry and vehicle tracking, we are armed with more tools than ever to combat this issue. However, it also requires awareness, diligence, and proactive measures from all of us.

By understanding where stolen cars go and how to protect ourselves, we can all contribute to reducing this criminal activity and ensuring the safety of our beloved vehicles.