Vehicle thefts up 50% in five years!

Vehicle thefts have increased by almost 50% in the past five years, new figures from the Home Office reveal.

Around 75,000 vehicles were stolen in England and Wales in 2013-14, but by 2017-18 that had risen to over 110,000 thefts -- the equivalent of one vehicle being stolen every five minutes or 300 a day.

The figures come after the policing minister, Nick Hurd, announced a new taskforce to help prevent vehicle theft.

The taskforce replicates the successful model used in London to reduce moped-related crime, which fell by a third in January to October 2018 compared with the same period a year earlier.

Its work will include improving vehicle security standards, preventing criminals from exploiting the motor salvage process, and reviewing whether further measures are necessary to stop devices that may be used to commit vehicle theft falling into criminals' hands.

Vehicle theft has risen by 7% in the last 12 months alone, the Home Office said.

What can you do to help prevent your car or van being stolen?

1. When you activate the central locking, listen for the click and watch for the indicators flashing. If you don't get either of these, it could mean the key fob isn't working or it could be a sign of tech-savvy thieves using a key jammer to prevent the vehicle from locking.

2. If you park on the street, choose a well-lit area that is clearly visible to passing traffic and pedestrians, close to an occupied building, or in view of CCTV cameras.

3. Hide your belongings -- money, bags, phones and sat-nav systems should be out of sight wherever possible.

4. Think about where you put your car keys when you're out and about. And at home, don't leave your keys near to an open window or within reach of the letterbox.

5. Don't leave your car running unattended -- it's tempting on frosty mornings to leave your car to warm up while you finish getting ready. But not only do you run the risk of thieves jumping in and driving off, it could also invalidate your insurance.