National car thefts down, but Victorian gangs step up activity.

Victoria has overtaken NSW to record the most short-term passenger and light commercial (PLC) vehicle thefts, according to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC). Last financial year 8491 PLC vehicles were stolen in Victoria, compared with NSW’s 7493. This is despite NSW comprising 40% of the national fleet, compared with Victoria at 30%. 

Short-term PLC thefts in NSW have fallen 31% in the past five years, while numbers have increased in Victoria, WA and the NT. The national PLC rate fell 3% last financial year, with 40,601 stolen. Motorcycle theft was also down 3% to 8078. NMVTRC Executive Director Ray Carroll is pleased with the national decline, but worried about Victoria’s upward trend. He told “cultural pockets” in Victoria’s northern and eastern suburbs are largely responsible.

“Police are calling them sneak thefts. It’s where youths look for open doors and windows, and sneak into a house and steal the vehicle keys. Often the owner doesn’t know their vehicle is gone until the morning.”

Mr Carroll says youths in Melbourne’s east have focused on old Nissan Pulsars that do not have engine immobilisers fitted.

“There is a culture of kids daring each other on social media to steal old Pulsars.”

Mr Carroll says non-immobilised cars are twice as likely to be stolen. About 75% of Australia’s car fleet is now immobilised. While short-term thefts were down nationally, profit-motivated thefts were up across all vehicle categories. 

Last year 4566 motorcycles were stolen for profit, an increase of 2%. Mr Carroll says because motorbikes are easily damaged and parts are expensive, there is a “very active stolen parts market”. Bikes are also easier to steal than cars, while almost half are not registered and too few owners record engine or chassis numbers, making recovery difficult. Mr Carroll wants across-the-board participation by importers in microdot technology, whereby serial numbers are stamped all over the bike.

“Only [motorcycle-makers] KTM and Yamaha are using it, and KTMs have a very low rate of theft.”

Source:    txking /