Which areas have the most car thefts

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Did you know that where you live affects your car insurance premium? Some states have higher numbers of car thefts, so where you live can influence the premiums of all car owners in those areas.

Graph: Motor vehicle thefts in Australia by state (ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA), January to December 2010. Total stolen vehicles, thefts per thousand registrations, thefts per thousand population. Source: National motor vehicle theft reduction council.Figure 1 January to December 2010 Vehicle Thefts (Source: National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council)

In terms of outright thefts, NSW is the national leader, with Victoria a fair way behind. However, also important to note is the comparison of thefts to vehicle numbers: Such a calculation allows states to be compared on an equal basis.

While NSW is still high with 4.37 thefts per thousand registered vehicles it is well behind the Northern Territory with 8.26 per thousand, and the ACT with 6.81 per thousand.

However the state that comes out ahead is Queensland. With only 1.96 thefts per vehicle your car is twice as safe in the Sunshine State as NSW, and 4 times less likely to be stolen than if it was in the Northern Territory. Victoria also does extremely well with only 2.83 thefts per thousand registered vehicles, a better result than all states bar Queensland.

Graph: Motor vehicle thefts per 1000 registered vehicles in Australia from 2000 to 2010 by state(ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA)

Risky business

Of course, regardless of where you live, you can potentially lose your car to thieves when you are out and about. This is why having adequate car insurance is vital.

And you can also take precautions to deter thieves. Car thieves are often opportunists who go for easy targets. Leaving windows open or the doors unlocked make it an easy target. Opportunistic thieves are more likely to steal a car that does not have security technology such as an engine immobilizer or an alarm.

Allianz recommends installing an engine immobilizer on older vehicles, which do not already have this security feature. An engine immobilizer ensures that the car cannot move without its key, so a thief may break into the car, but is unlikely to get away with the vehicle. And if you are buying a new car, it is worth investigating the theft risk and security rating of the vehicle.

Opportunistic thieves also target cars where owners have left valuable goods in plain sight; especially mobile telephones, laptop computers, cash, iPods, and GPS devices. Whenever you leave your car, ensure you lock all doors and windows and take all your valuables with you.

If you do leave valuables in the car, put the valuables into the locked boot and ensure no one can see the valuables from the outside of the vehicle. One handy tip if you park on the street is to leave empty ashtrays and storage compartment doors open so thieves can see there are no valuables in them. When you do so, however, make sure that you are not leaving a courtesy light on in the compartment that may flatten the battery.