From the newsroom of AA Insurance:
AA Insurance today revealed the ten cars stolen most frequently in New Zealand, following an analysis of theft claims made to the company over the last four years.
Some 69 percent of stolen cars reported to AA Insurance did not contain any security devices and 85 percent of cars stolen in the past year (March 2008 – July 2009) were first registered before January 2000.
AA Insurance‟s statistics were taken from their claims data, March 2008 – July 2009. “The Top Ten list shows the preferences of car thieves and they mostly prefer pre-2000 models,” says Martin Fox, Deputy General Manager, AA Insurance.
“That‟s probably because older cars lack the sophisticated security systems of newer models, such as electronic locking, alarms and immobilisers, so are simply easier to steal. It‟s more about the age of the cars than the various vehicle manufacturers.”
Compared to the 2008 Top Ten list the Nissan Silvia retains its top spot as the car stolen most often, with the Nissan Skyline jumping five places to third this year.
The Subaru Legacy, Mazda Lantis and Honda Prelude are still prominent in the top ten, and new additions this year include the Mitsubishi Legnum, Honda Integra, Subaru Forester and Mazda Familia.
Top 10 Stolen Cars (Source: AA Insurance claims data)
- Nissan Silvia
- Subaru Impreza
- Nissan Skyline
- Subaru Legacy
- Mitsubishi Legnum
- Honda Integra
- Subaru Forester
- Mazda Lantis
- Honda Prelude
- Mazda Familia
According to a study by the New Zealand Police two out of five car theft incidents occur when the car is unlocked or when the thief has obtained the car keys1. Almost 15 percent of respondents in the 2009 AA Insurance Drivers Index, which surveyed 3,708 New Zealand drivers aged 18-65, admitted they did not always lock their car.
“It sounds obvious but thieves are opportunistic and will always take the easy option,” says Martin. “If there‟s an unlocked car next to a locked car, they‟ll go for the unlocked one every time. While locking your car is the first and most obvious step, there are other simple things you can do to make your car less attractive to thieves.
“Older cars are more attractive to thieves because they don‟t have all the inbuilt anti-theft features that late model cars have. But you can reduce the odds by installing an alarm or immobiliser, and make sure it can be clearly seen. Thieves are quickly discouraged by a flashing light or even an alarm sticker, and will move on to an easier target.”
AA Insurance‟s findings in their theft claims data were supported by the New Zealand Police research, which found that 16-20 year-old vehicles were four times more likely to be targeted by thieves than newer cars.
1 Only 25 percent of respondents in the 2009 AA Insurance Drivers Index had a car alarm installed. Furthermore, 37 percent said they did not investigate their car‟s security features before purchase and 42 percent of car theft victims did not upgrade or consider upgrading the security in their car after the incident.
Despite this, when survey respondents were asked if they believed they could have done more to prevent their car‟s theft, some 70 percent answered „no‟. It happens close to home According to the AA Insurance Drivers Index, New Zealanders are less cautious about their car‟s security when it is at home.
One quarter of respondents who regularly leave their car unlocked say they don‟t lock their car when it is parked at home and 23 percent don‟t lock it when it is in their 1 Knight, T. 2008.
A Study of Vehicle Theft in New Zealand: Situational factors affecting risk, Organisational Performance Group, New Zealand Police garage. However, some 70 percent of all respondents said they would be apprehensive about leaving their parked car in an unfamiliar street. In actual fact, cars parked at home are more at risk.
According to the AA Insurance Drivers Index, 29 percent of respondents whose cars had been stolen said the theft had taken place when the car was parked on their street or a nearby street, and 26 percent said their car had been stolen from their own driveway, carport or garage. “Lock your car, even when you‟re at home or parked in the garage and if you‟re in a public place, park where your car, and a thief, will be most visible – under a streetlight or near a security camera,” says Martin.
Of the cars reported stolen to AA Insurance, 39 percent were never recovered. Double check: stolen or just misplaced? It is also important people who find their cars missing are absolutely sure their car has in fact been stolen before reporting it to the police. “We have had instances where people have reported their car as stolen when what‟s actually happened is that they‟ve forgotten where they‟ve parked! This is not infrequent in large parking buildings.
If you can‟t find your car, and wonder if it may be stolen it‟s a good idea to ring the local towing company to see if they have it. If they don‟t, then you should report the theft to the police and your insurance company,” says Martin. Tips for preventing car theft from AA Insurance Install security on your car.
An alarm and immobiliser are good deterrents as the thief can see the warning lights. If you have a steering lock – use it. Thieves are less likely to break into cars with visible security on them.
Always lock your car – even when your car is at home in the garage or at the service station. If you have to park on the street make sure your car is under a street light or in a well lit area. Use an attended, secure parking building if possible and park close to the entrance or exit. Call the police and your insurance company as soon as you realise your car has been stolen to increase the chances of recovery.