Experts have blamed the number of drivers using their smartphones as sat navs, and leaving them in their vehicles, for the rise in thefts from cars and vans.
A series of Freedom of Information requests made by the RAC found that more than half of police forces recorded increases in the number of thefts from cars or vans. In 2016, 239,920 vehicles were broken in to – an increase of 8,700 on the previous year – with 26 police forces seeing the number of incidents of theft increase.
The number does not include the vast number of thefts that go unrecorded each year.
Experts have since come out to say that complacency from drivers is leading to this surge of thefts. Suggestions have been made that drivers who leave their smartphones – which are being used as satellite navigation devices- in their vehicles are to blame for the increase in thefts.
Many drivers leave phones in the cradle when they leave their cars, giving thieves “a great opportunity to profit,” an expert has said.
RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey said: “A lot of people breaking into vehicles will be opportunist, with thieves looking for items they can sell on easily.
“It’s also possible that drivers have become more complacent about what items they leave on display, perhaps believing that items like sat navs are now so commonplace they’re not of interest to thieves.
“And with lots of drivers using their smartphones as sat navs there is a higher probability of accidentally leaving a phone in a cradle and giving a thief a great opportunity to profit. The fact remains that every time a driver leaves a valuable item on display they are running the risk of becoming a car crime victim.”