Don't leave your car in Lambeth: Co-op Insurance reveals the hotspots for car theft across the UK

14 July 2021

● Extensive study of Co-op Insurance claims data from 2016 – 2020 exposes Lambeth as the car theft capital of the UK, closely followed by Kensington and Chelsea

● Areas with the highest frequency of claims outside of London include Watford and Slough, with Preston the epicentre for vehicle theft in the North

● Claims data shows Moray in Scotland has the lowest frequency of car theft in the whole of the UK

● District of Mid Devon is the lowest on the list for thefts in England and for Wales it’s Denbighshire

● Ford Fiesta is the most common car stolen, followed by Ford Focus and Vauxhall Corsa

● The Park Smart tool from Co-op Insurance allows users to search for vehicle crime hotspots by postcode or location using Government data.

Today, Co-op Insurance has released the results of an extensive car theft study , revealing London as the car crime hotspot of the UK. Data from the leading motor insurer outlines the places across England, Scotland and Wales that have had the highest car theft rates since 2016, uncovering that nine of the top 10 locations are all in the capital.

Lambeth in London had the highest frequency of car theft claims, as a percentage of the policies in that area, between 2016 and 2020 – the highest of any postcode area in the UK.

Perhaps surprisingly, affluent Kensington and Chelsea came in a close second. Preston is the only Northern borough within the top 20, sitting at number 13.

Meanwhile, those living in Moray, Scotland, can rest easy knowing it had the least frequency of vehicle theft claims in four years. In England, the borough of Mid Devon is the lowest on the list and for Wales, it’s Denbighshire.

When it comes to which makes and models of cars are most likely to be targeted, the study reveals that it is smaller, lower-price point vehicles that are favoured by thieves. The top three cars stolen, by volume of total claims over the four years, are the Ford Fiesta, the Ford Focus and the Vauxhall Corsa.

More expensive models also featured near the top, include Land Rover’s Range Rover Evoque at number six and the Audi A3 at eight. BMWs do not feature in the top 10, but the BMW 320 comes in at number 11.

To help customers understand what car crime levels are like in their area, Co-op Insurance has launched its Park Smart interactive tool, which uses data published by the Home Office on Users can search for vehicle crime hotspots by postcode or location to quickly identify a safe street, with results showing how many reports of vehicle thefts, thefts from a vehicle and vandalism there have been in the last six months. Areas are colour coded red, orange or yellow to make it easy to spot areas of concern.

Paul Evans, head of motor insurance at Co-op Insurance says: “Having your car stolen is one of the most distressing experiences a person can endure and sadly, it is still something that blights everyday life particularly in our cities. Our claims data shows that car crime rates in London have remained continuously high but it’s interesting to see that places like Preston and Stockport are also emerging hotspots in the North.

“We’re passionate about helping car owners to keep their vehicles safe – they can do this by researching car crime levels in their own area and also by following some simple steps that will deter a thief. People with smaller and perhaps less expensive cars need to be aware that these motor vehicles are hot property for car thieves. Our policies are designed to offer peace of mind that should the worse happen, we’ll help you get yourself back on the road in good time.”

Television consumer champion and former car dealer, Dominic Littlewood, says: “Whether our cars are parked on the driveway or in an urban car park, they are vulnerable to car thieves who are becoming increasingly well organised in targeting the vehicles on their wish list. There are a number of really simple steps that car owners can take to make sure their vehicle doesn’t look so appealing – from simply turning your car wheels to face the kerb and investing in some simple deterrents like steering wheel locks. And don’t think it won’t happen to you, cheaper makes and models are becoming more attractive than ever to thieves. It’s also important to get the right car insurance in place so if the worst does happen, you’ll get the money to buy another car quickly and conveniently.”

Top tips to beat the car thieves:

  1. Think before you park: if you’re car’s not at home, park it in a well-lit area, near to people and other cars and somewhere where it can easily be seen, preferably monitored by CCTV or a security patrol.
  2. Wheels at an angle: when parking on the street, make sure your car wheels are facing the kerb (unless parking up hill on a hill). This means that anyone trying to speed off in your car will have to release the steering wheel lock first. It also helps eliminate the chance of a thief towing or pushing your car away to a quieter spot.
  3. Invest in deterrents: something as simple as a visible steering lock can really put a car thief off. If you don’t have one fitted, consider adding a car alarm, immobiliser, tracking device or dash cam.
  4. Doors to manual: you might think that by clicking your key fob, your car has automatically been locked but increasingly inexpensive remote control jamming technology can be purchased on line which blocks signals to your car meaning you are actually leaving it completely unlocked and not alarmed. The only way to ensure it has worked is by manually checking the doors and boot before you walk away.
  5. Avoid temptation: never leave enticing objects such as bags, clothes, sat navs, designer sunglasses, loose change or mobile phones on display. This could prompt an opportunistic thief to smash a window and take your belongings. Ensure your car looks empty and free from expensive items.
  6. Switch off your engine: don’t leave your car running whilst you nip off to run an errand – you’re making it too easy for car thieves to take advantage of an empty driving seat.
  7. Petrol stations: If no one is sitting in your car, lock it as you go to pay for your petrol otherwise this gives a thief an ideal opportunity to strike.
  8. Be surroundings aware: to avoid being a victim of carjacking, when in slow moving traffic or a traffic jam lock your windows and doors, place valuables out of sight and remain alert, especially if travelling at night or driving a convertible.

To find out the car crime rates in your area, please visit


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