Car crime statistics 2020

There were on average 37% less offences involving cars during the coronavirus quarantine.

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We’re not saying you should cancel your car insurance, but the crimes related to vehicles have certainly dropped during the coronavirus quarantine. Looking at the statistics from the 10 first weeks of quarantine (23 March to 1 June 2020) and compare it year on year, we can see that 2020 offences saw a drop by 37% on average compared to the same weeks in 2019. Even though the conviction rate had barely increased. In addition to this, the rate of having not found the suspect decreased by 3% in 2020, meaning fewer people are getting away with their crimes.

Quick overview

  • There were on average 37% less offences involving cars during the 10 first weeks of quarantine than the same weeks in 2019.
  • The conviction rate was basically unchanged from 3.78% in 2019 to 4.08% this year, a mere 8% increase even though some constabularies had more than half as many crimes.
  • On average, 93% of the car-related crimes made during the same time in 2019 never had a suspect. During the same weeks in 2020, 90% of all car crimes didn’t have any suspects.

Constabulary differences

The Surrey Police recorded 1,786 car-related crimes from 23 March until 1 June 2019, which increased to 2,056 vehicle crimes in 2020, resulting in a 15% increase. The second worst region that has only seen a small change in crime is Bedfordshire, with only a 6% decrease.

Cheshire Constabulary is the real winner of the coronavirus crisis, as there were 722 crimes during the 10 spring weeks of 2019 but only 346 in 2020, which is a decrease of -52%. The police officers of Thames Valley Police constabulary can also see a positive trend, as vehicle crimes in this area have been going down during this time from a massive 2,857 crimes in 2019 to 1,376 in 2020 (52% decrease).

On average, the constabularies compared had a 37% decrease in car-related crimes from 23 March to 1 June in 2020 compared to 2019.

Constabulary Vehicle crimes 23 March to 1 June 2019 Vehicle crimes 23 March to 1 June 2020 Difference
Cheshire Constabulary 722 346 -52%
Thames Valley Police 2,857 1,376 -52%
Wiltshire Police 1,018 510 -50%
Cumbria Constabulary 657 330 -50%
Gloucestershire Constabulary 917 484 -47%
West Mercia Police 1,710 921 -46%
Northamptonshire Police 1,809 988 -45%
Lancashire Constabulary 3,195 1,746 -45%
Kent Police 4,825 2,690 -44%
Essex Police 4,238 2,368 -44%
Norfolk Constabulary 1,205 675 -44%
Leicestershire Police 2,651 1,490 -44%
Avon and Somerset Constabulary 3,311 1,898 -43%
Merseyside Police 1,024 607 -41%
North Wales Police 973 580 -40%
Hertfordshire Constabulary 1,540 919 -40%
Cambridgeshire Constabulary 1,761 1,051 -40%
Sussex Police 2,783 1,687 -39%
South Yorkshire Police 3,584 2,189 -39%
Staffordshire Police 2,614 1,608 -38%
West Midlands Police 7,855 4,935 -37%
Police Service of Northern Ireland 1,935 1,234 -36%
Nottinghamshire Police 2,375 1,533 -35%
Derbyshire Constabulary 1,521 1,039 -32%
Devon and Cornwall Constabulary 1,699 1,171 -31%
Cleveland Police 1,276 885 -31%
Warwickshire Police 1,049 732 -30%
North Yorkshire Police 801 572 -29%
Gwent Police 620 470 -24%
Bedfordshire Police 1,143 1,080 -6%
Surrey Police 1,786 2,056 15%

Charge rates

After looking at the positives in constabulary differences with some areas reducing their crimes by more than 50%, the same cannot be said for charge rates. Despite some constabularies experiencing more than 50% less crimes for the 10 weeks in 2020 the rate at which criminals are convicted has remained basically unchanged with only an 8% higher conviction rate.

In 2019, 3.64% of the car-related crimes of this time period led to a conviction or charge, while 4.02% did the same in 2020. This infers that crime rates are on the rise, as the percentage of no suspect being found is still at 89%. Additionally, 89% of cases had no suspects meaning we may need to keep an eye out for delinquents on the run. However, this is a small decline of over 4% from the year before (93%)

The lowest charge rate in March to June 2019 can be found at the Police Service of Northern Ireland, where 1,935 crimes led to 4 convictions, making the charge rate 0.21%. The following year, 2 of the 1,234 car-related crimes were solved, meaning the conviction rate was 0.16%.

Constabulary Charge rate 23 March to 1 June 2019 Charge rate 23 March to 1 June 2020
Police Service of Northern Ireland 0.21% 0.16%
Kent Police 0.97% 0.82%
Thames Valley Police 1.61% 1.31%
Cambridgeshire Constabulary 1.14% 2.38%
Bedfordshire Police 1.22% 3.24%
Sussex Police 1.83% 2.73%
Hertfordshire Constabulary 2.79% 2.07%
Leicestershire Police 2.87% 2.28%
Warwickshire Police 3.24% 2.05%

Highest charge rates

We looked deeper into how charge rates differ across the UK, to see which region is doing the best at keeping crime at bay. If we look at charge rates in the table, we can see that North Wales has had the biggest increase by almost doubling its charge rate to 17%, yet Norfolk Constabulary was able to bring down its overall crime rate by 1%.

This can be looked at in one of two ways, either crime rates are on the up leading to higher charges or that the police have been able to tunnel in on catching those suspects. Either way, the hope is that charge rates are down due to a decrease in crime.

The highest charge rate is made by the North Wales Police, where 9% of all car-related crimes were solved in March to June 2019 (84 of 973) and 17% in 2020 (98 of 580).

Constabulary Charge rate 23 March to 1 June 2019 Charge rate 23 March to 1 June 2020
North Wales Police 8.63% 16.90%
Norfolk Constabulary 9.13% 8.00%
North Yorkshire Police 4.24% 8.92%
Merseyside Police 4.10% 5.77%
Nottinghamshire Police 5.47% 4.24%
West Mercia Police 5.50% 4.13%
Staffordshire Police 5.66% 3.79%
South Yorkshire Police 3.88% 5.34%
Derbyshire Constabulary 5.33% 3.85%

Car insurance

The cost of car insurance has been the hot topic of discussion for many UK drivers, with policies seeming to rise year on year. However, since 2017, the average policy cost has actually been decreasing. In fact, in 2020, the average cost of a car insurance policy is currently £460, the lowest level in four years.

  • £460 is currently the average cost of a car insurance policy in 2020.
  • £11 fall in the the average insurance policy cost from 2019.
  • 23% of those aged 21–29 have a black box installed as part of their insurance policy.
  • Over 11 million drivers in the UK record using dash cams.
  • 79,000 motorists were caught driving illegally without insurance in 2018.
Year Number of offences
2012 108,616
2013 108,486
2014 102,417
2015 92,804
2016 113,502
2017 118,698
2018 79,713

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

Methodology

  • Finder commissioned Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to 49 police departments around the UK.

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