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Surge in vehicle crime prompts warning for keyless car owners

PUBLISHED: 13:20 28 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:20 28 March 2019

There were 2,739 vehicle crimes reported in Norfolk between February 2018 and January 2019. Picture: Neil Didsbury

There were 2,739 vehicle crimes reported in Norfolk between February 2018 and January 2019. Picture: Neil Didsbury

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A record £1 million is being paid out by insurance companies every day as the number of vehicle thefts across the country soars, with hundreds of car crimes reported in Norfolk so far this year.

Car crime in Norfolk has prompted a warning by insurers to keyless car drivers. Picture: Neil DidsburyCar crime in Norfolk has prompted a warning by insurers to keyless car drivers. Picture: Neil Didsbury

According to figures by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the cost of car thefts increased to £376 million in 2018, up by 29pc compared to 2017.

In Norfolk, there were a total of 2,739 vehicle crimes - including theft of and from a car - reported to police between February 2018 and January 2019, with 222 of those reported in the latter month alone.

Norwich East had the highest number of vehicle crimes reported to the police, at 320, followed by Norwich North with 228, Thetford with 187 and Norwich South with 157.

Although it is not known how many of these crimes related to keyless cars it is believed these types of vehicles are especially susceptible to crime.

Researchers have said some new car models are vulnerable to crime. Picture: Denise BradleyResearchers have said some new car models are vulnerable to crime. Picture: Denise Bradley

Martin Smith, claims manager at Aviva, said, “The insurance industry works very closely with car manufacturers to constantly improve security systems and beat the criminals.

“However, as recent figures show, some keyless vehicles are more prone to theft from thieves who have the necessary technology.

“Customers can and should take steps to reduce the risk of having their car stolen by considering where they park and where they keep their keys to prevent thieves gaining either physical access or access over the air to facilitate theft.

“So we recommend that customers don’t leave their keys in an unattended jacket or on a hook next to the front door. There are also numerous sealing devices available to protect the keys.”

Some eight car crimes were reported in Taverham and Drayton in 2018, making it the safest place in the county for car owners along with Sheringham. This is followed by nine crimes reported in The Woottons in King’s Lynn and 10 in Bradwell.

Figures by car insurance company RAC found there had been a 56pc increase in car thefts between 2013 and 2016 in Norfolk, while Suffolk saw a 30pc decrease in the same time period - making it one of only six police force areas in England and Wales to see a decline.

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