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Christmas Car Crime

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 27 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Christmas Car Crime

Most of us are fond of Christmas. But one group of people who look forward to it just as much are the car criminals for whom the party comes early every year as they target car drivers who are stressed out and tired in the run up to the festivities. Car crime and Christmas car crime statistics in particular will always tend to rise over the festive period. With new cars full to the brim with security features, car criminals turn their thoughts to older cars - small saloon cars and cars over 12 years old are the most commonly targeted.

The RAC found that amongst those who fell foul to the car criminals, there was:

  • A shopper who loaded up their car with gifts before going back for a last few items, set their alarm and walked away leaving the car door open
  • The driver who drove off leaving a big pile of shopping on the floor
  • The motorist so busy ticking things off their Christmas list that they completely forgot to lock the car.
  • The car owner who filled up their car with Christmas shopping because the boot was full of rubbish bags destined for the tip. Needless to say, when they returned, the rubbish was still safely nestled in the boot while the presents were all chucked away at the tip.
  • The driver who went shopping and left their keys in the ignition.
  • The distracted owner who went shopping leaving their house keys in full view on the dashboard on top of a stack of opened letters - giving the thieves their home address and the means to get into it.
  • The car owner who put his laptop, phone and briefcase in the boot of his estate car but forgot to close over the cover, leaving it all on show.
"Christmas is a time when we all have too much to do and not enough time to do it", said Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation. "The pressures of family, work and social commitments make it one of the most stressful times of the year.

"Ordinarily sensible and well organised people frequently get distracted because they have such a lot on their mind and not taking care of mundane things like locking the car can be a consequence. But now that much car crime is actually opportunist driven, motorists should be extra vigilant to protect the vehicles and contents, especially if they don't want to become one of the Christmas crime statistics

"The most prudent advice is to park in a well lit, security patrolled area and ensure that all goods are firmly locked in the boot or covered in an estate. Some people actually advocate moving their car to a different area of the same car park between trips."

Other car crimes that are most prevalent during the winter months are also on the rise. They include:


For years opportunist thieves have pinched cars from outside schools, shops, parked in driveways and petrol station forecourts. Now they've cottoned on to the idea of hanging around driveways, or where there is on-street parking and waiting for motorists to leave their engines running while they defrost the car. The owner pops back into the house to get warm - maybe grab a quick cuppa and unknown to them the thief is away before anyone has noticed. Don't assume that the car is ok because there is someone further down the road scraping ice from a windscreen - as most people are hidden by big coats and hats, it could be an opportunist thief, making sure you don't get suspicious, rather than your neighbour, defrosting their car.


Ignition keys are often left hanging on a hook, or put on table next to the door. This provides another easy target for those opportunist criminals. There is an increasing number of thieves who believe that breaking into the house and helping themselves to the keys is easier than trying to break into a newer car, full to bursting with sophisticated security gadgets. Sometimes, they don't even have to break in - in the winter, many people leave their doors open while they defrost their cars, then come back and close it - shutting the thief inside. It's easier for them to get out than it is to get in and of course when they go, to add insult to injury, they'll probably take anything they can fit into your boot as well.

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