Experts at USwitch have warned December and January are considered “peak months” for vehicle crime with January the “worst month” for theft. Data has revealed crime can be up to 35 percent higher in the winter months which could leave thousands of drivers caught out over the coming weeks and months.
A spokesperson for USwitch has warned the numbers of stolen cars are expected to “get higher” in a major warning to motorists.
They said: “As the winter nights draw in and daylight hours are reduced, an analysis of stolen and recovered car theft data has revealed 25 percent more vehicles are stolen in the winter months than in the summer.
“Car tracking firm Tracker discovered that as the months get colder and darker, stolen vehicle rates get higher.
“According to police data, overall, January is the worst month for vehicle crime, with a whopping 41,029 reported in the first month of 2019.
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“December and January are peak months for car crime, as it’s when we typically experience harsh frosty mornings, and drivers often leave cars unattended whilst de-icing, which presents itself as a prime opportunity for criminal gangs.
“December is also a time when we’re likely to store expensive items, such as Christmas presents, in our cars, which can also leave you more vulnerable to car theft.”
South Yorkshire Police has also issued a warning to stay extra vigilant throughout the winter to avoid being the victim of crimes.
In a stark warning, Roads Policing Sergeant Matt Duffy has warned drivers could even be issued with fines for refusing to be sensible on cold mornings.
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He said: “Please lock your car every time you get out; do not leave your car running for any reason, even on your own driveway.
“If officers see a car engine running without a driver inside, we can report you to your insurance company or issue you with a fine.
“We don’t want to issue anyone a ticket for something that can be avoided, but we must take action. Thieves that steal cars pose a risk to our communities.
“Stolen cars are more likely to be used in further crimes, be driven dangerously and take extra risks, including failing to stop for officers.
“This creates risks for other drivers on the road and pedestrians, and gives thieves the opportunity to commit crimes and impact on people’s lives.”
Last year, data from Click4Reg found 11 percent of all vehicle crimes recorded in 2019 took place in January.
However, the RAC says the assumption that car crime is more likely around Christmas was false.
Instead, they say theft claims tend to fall over the Christmas period with an 87 percent reduction on December 25.
They say the data also shows a 76 percent reduction for claims made on Boxing Day.
Despite this, a USwitch spokesperson urged drivers to take precautions when parking their vehicles over the winter months.
They said: “To keep your car safe when you’re heading out, try to park in a busy, well-lit area or secure car park if possible, and ensure all windows are closed and doors are locked.
“On cold days, don’t leave your car unattended with the engine running while it warms up, even if it’s parked on your driveway or street.”