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Our newsletters Theft Watch, Theft Torque and Theft Matters.

Also the NMVTRC annual report, strategic plan and other reports including the technical guide for the classification of write-offs.


The NMVTRC's quarterly statistics
based interactive tool.

August 2021- Issue 79
The NMVTRC's quarterly update
on theft reform activities.

June 2021 - Issue 63
Oct 2020 - Issue 62
May 2020 - Issue 61
Dec 2019 - Issue 60

Regular reports


General Reports

DAC-light vehicles

DAC- Heavy Vehicle


review cover
Management of written off vehicles
Damaged vehicle criteria for statutory written-off vehicles: Regulatory impact statement

New damage assessment criteria for the classification of write-offs
NMVTRC Statement on the Application of its Technical Guides for Written-off Vehicles

Technical Guide


New Damage Assessment criteria for the Classification of heavy vehicle Statutory Write-Offs
Technical Guide

Synergy Automotive Repairs Program
Process Evaluation Report

7th review of the NMVTRC
NMVTRC 7th Review

Benefits of Reform - Final Report

Stakeholder Views


Contemporary offending

organised image NSW crime report
Modernising regulatory regimes to optimise compliance Accompanying notes

Model motor trade (accreditation)

Victorian inter-agency task force report
Task Force Discover – Final Report

Review of Regulation of Seperated Parts Market in Australia
DLA piper report

Use of Regulatory Regimes in Preventing the Infiltration of Organised Crime into Lawful Occupations and Industries
VLRC Report

Insights into Contemporary Young Offender Behaviour in Victoria
Final Report

Organised Vehicle Theft Offences in New South Wales Follow up Review

Review of Aftermarket Devices NMVTRC Ghost Immobiliser Report FINAL

Archived Reports

Collaboration with IAG Research Centre

review of the current cost of vehicle replacement parts

Research Reports

Released: September 2021

This comprehensive national report contains key motor vehicle theft statistics for the last five years and short term and profit motivated theft sections.
Released: August 2021

To better understand how stolen vehicles are being used and quantify the harm caused, the NMVTRC’s Comprehensive Auto-Theft Research Service (CARS) has analysed a random sample of stolen vehicle incidents reported to Queensland Police Service (QPS) in 2019 to identify links to associated crimes (ancillary crimes) and the related wider impacts. Further to this, stolen vehicle detections by an automatic number plate recognition device (ANPR) or traffic cameras were reviewed to determine if the vehicle was involved in high risk behaviour and/or in any accidents before being recovered.
Released: June 2021

In April the NMVTRC teamed up with the Motorcycle Council of NSW (MCC) to better understand the security practices of motorcycle and scooter riders in Australia. In the 12 months to April 2020 a total of 7,318 motorcycles were stolen nationally. While the numbers are down (26%) from the previous 12 months, motorcycle theft has remained relatively stable over the past five years due to the inherent challenges of protecting bikes including ease of portability and high demand for parts.
Released: March 2021

During the last decade we have seen motor vehicle thefts (MVT) decline by 41 per cent in Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW). While there are a number of factors that could have contributed to this significant reduction, it is worth considering the impact of rising offender apprehension rates and court outcomes in the state. This research examines alleged offender and criminal courts data from NSW to explore possible links between a decline in MVT numbers and an increase in offender apprehension and sentencing rates.
Released: January 2021

Are silent electric motors more attractive to thieves? Or, conversely, is their conspicuousness in the current market or battery-related range concerns of fully electric vehicles a deterrent for thieves? CARS has examined the theft rates of electric and hybrid vehicles across Australia in 2019/20. In addition, we have also selected non-electric variants of some of these more common hybrid models for comparison.
Released: September 2020

This comprehensive national report contains key motor vehicle theft statistics for the last five years and short term and profit motivated theft sections.
Released: June 2020

Australia’s vehicle theft landscape is constantly changing. Traditionally considered a single crime, vehicle theft is now increasingly at the centre of a range of other crimes such as aggravated burglaries or robberies, arson, drug or firearms dealing or terrorism (in the form of vehicle-based attacks or explosions). To investigate further, the NMVTRC’s CARS team has conducted research into the patterns of recovery times of stolen vehicles in Australia
Released: April 2020

Summary of the Nexus survey on community perceptions and awareness of vehicle theft.
Released: October 2019

This comprehensive national report contains key motor vehicle theft statistics for the last five years and short term and profit motivated theft sections.
Released: August 2019

The NMVTRC’s CARS team has recently conducted an analysis of 2018 theft rates of passenger/light commercial vehicles (PLCs) that had the top sales figures in selected years. The analysis highlights the theft rates of the most popular vehicles on the market to assist motorists who are looking to purchase a used car.
Released: January 2019

Light commercial utilities are more popular in Australia than ever before. In the last decade, registration of light commercial utilities increased by 52%. The question is, is this surge in registrations of light commercial utilities reflected in theft numbers? The NMVTRC has examined national light commercial vehicle thefts and registrations for the period from 2007/08 to 2017/18 to determine whether this change in the light commercial utility registration profile is also seen in thefts and if so, are utilities or vans most at risk?
Released: September 2018

This comprehensive national report contains key motor vehicle theft statistics for the last five years and short term and profit motivated theft sections.
Released: July 2018

Research in Australia and other countries suggests that the theft of immobilised vehicles is most often preceded by the thief gaining access to the vehicle’s transponder key. In many ways the Northern Territory (NT) represents a unique consumer market in respect of its remoteness, climate, built environment and resident lifestyle. NT Police subsequently expressed an interest in undertaking a ‘deep analysis’ of local thefts to confirm the relationship between residential burglaries and vehicle crime.
Released: February 2018

Thinking of buying a car? Two very important features to consider are safety in terms of both avoiding and when involved in a crash and the car's risk of theft. We have made that easy by compiling three ratings, namely the CARS Theft Risk Rating, the UCSR and the ANCAP ratings together to provide a more comprehensive rating reference based on the latest ratings data.
Released: September 2017

This comprehensive national report contains key motor vehicle theft statistics for the last five years and short term and profit motivated theft sections.
Released: February 2017

Does the colour of your car have an impact on safety and security? Research has shown that there is a distinct relationship between vehicle colour and crash risk+. The NMVTRC’s CARS project conducted analysis to determine any relationship between vehicle colour and theft and found that overall, there appears to be some association between vehicle colour and theft when it comes to stealing a vehicle for profit.
Released: September 2016

This comprehensive national report contains key motor vehicle theft statistics for the last five years and short term and profit motivated theft sections.
Released: December 2015

Tackling motorcycle theft poses a number of unique challenges. Their portability and demand for parts makes them frequent theft targets with unsecured motorcycles able to be quickly wheeled away without being started or in the case of lighter bikes such as scooters, lifted into a van by just one person. Similarly, minimal in-built security means that unlike modern passenger vehicles that have self-arming immobilisers, motorcycles rely on rider intervention to secure the bike. This report summarises a motorcycle theft victim survey that assessed owner awareness of theft issues, the use of security practises and security behaviour changes after theft.
Released: October 2015

This comprehensive national report contains key motor vehicle theft statistics for the last five years and short term and profit motivated theft sections.
Released: March 2015

Profit-motivated theft is defined as vehicles stolen for conversion to profit as a whole vehicle or as separated parts through various illegal methods. In South Australia in 2014, there were $4.5 million profit-motivated passenger/light commercial (PLC) vehicle thefts.
Released: February 2015

Reported heavy motor vehicle thefts represent only 4 percent of Australia's overall motor vehicle theft problem. The commercial implications and high value of these vehicles means their loss has a significant impact on their owners and insurers. Heavy vehicles are categorised by CARS as generally having a gross vehicle mass of more than 3.5 tonnes and exclude buses.

Australia recorded a 38 per cent decrease in motor vehicle thefts in the period 2004-2014, while reported heavy vehicle thefts increased by 23 per cent in the same period. The increase in heavy vehicle thefts was largely due to a 45 per cent rise in plant and equipment thefts. By comparison, thefts of heavy trucks increased by 12 per cent. In 2014, the total estimated value of reported heavy vehicles stolen was $51.2 million.
Released: November 2014

Thinking of buying a used car? Two very important features to consider are safety in terms of both avoiding and when involved in a crash and the car's risk of theft. We've made that easy by putting our CARS theft risk rating together with the used car safety rating published by Monash University and the VSRG.
Released: February 2014

International research suggests that crime in general, and particularly motor vehicle theft is closely related to socio-economic status (Copes 1999, Walsh and Taylor, 2007). This study examined the relationship between motor vehicle theft and socio-economic status in Australia.
Released: January 2014

For many Australians, a motor vehicle is one of their most important possessions. This study analyses whether the attraction of many drivers to high performance vehicles also results in a greater attraction to thieves. It compares the theft rates of high performance vehicles with their standard performance counterparts. Vehicle profile, recovery rates and geographical differences across Australia were also analysed.
Released: March 2013

Arson of stolen vehicles is largely associated with insurance fraud, the destruction of forensic evidence, and for fun/thrill seeking. It adds substantially to the overall cost of motor vehicle theft to the community. This report profiles arson incidents involving stolen vehicles in both New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia (SA).
Released: April 2009 - Size: 521kb

This study analysed Queensland road crashes between the 2000/2001 and 2005/2006 financial years and found that over the six year period a total of 1,635 crashes (an average of 273 crashes per year) involved stolen vehicles. In the 2005/2006 financial year there were 230 stolen vehicle crashes, accounting for 1.0% of all road crashes. In the same financial year, 89 casualties including three fatalities and 141 cases of property damage were recorded. The estimated economic cost of crashes involving stolen vehicles in 2005 was approximately $17 million with an average cost of approximately $77,000 per crash.
Released: October 2008 - Size: 164kb

This peer reviewed paper was presented at the High Risk Road Users. Motivating behaviour change: what works and what doesn't work? conference (Australasian College of Road Safety and Travelsafe Committee, 18-19 September 2008). This study was the second in a series and matched New South Wales road crash data with vehicle theft data, to identify crashes involving vehicles reported stolen at the time of the incident. In 2006/07 there were 560 crashes involving vehicle theft, accounting for 1.2% of all road crashes. During the same period, six fatalities and 146 injuries were linked to crashes involving a stolen vehicle. An estimate of the cost of crashes involving vehicle theft was $43.6 million or an average cost of $53,600 per crash (based on 2003 data). Findings revealed in this study may help in development of effective strategies to reduce the impact of motor vehicle theft and improve safety on our roads.
Released: September 2008 - Size: 254kb

Published in the Journal of the Southern Rural Sociological Association 2008; Vol. 23, Number 2, pp 54-77, the aim of this research was to identify the extent of commercial and farm vehicle theft in Australia and to explore the theft profile of these vehicles in urban and rural areas. While passenger vehicle and light commercial vehicle (PLC) theft in Australia has decreased significantly since 2001, theft of commercial and farm vehicles has remained constant. Nonetheless, theft of commercial and farm vehicles in rural areas has a significant impact on the owners in terms of loss of income and means of transport. In the 2006/07 financial year, the estimated value of commercial and farm vehicle theft in Australia was $164.2 million.
Released: May 2008 - Size: 3,361kb

Published in the Journal of the Australasian College of Road Safety 2008; Vol. 19, Number 2, pp 38-46, this study examined the incidence of road crashes involving motor vehicle theft in South Australia over a 12-year period. The study found that 3,774 crashes involved a stolen vehicle, equating to an average of almost one crash per day. These crashes resulted in 835 casualties including 24 fatalities. The estimated cost of damage to property in crashes involving vehicle theft in 2006 was $2 million with an average cost of $7,330 per crash. When the additional human, vehicle and general costs are considered, the true cost of collisions involving vehicle crime is estimated at around $17 million per year (based on crashes in 2004).
Released: January 2008 - Size: 253kb

This report examines sentencing trends in South Australia from 1990 to 2005 in relation to adult motor vehicle theft offenders and includes a comparison of the rate of custodial sentences between South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales.
Released: January 2008 - Size: 299kb

This paper investigates offender motivation for stealing motor vehicles. The paper features two separate sections, a literature review and a series of offender interviews, both of which investigate reasons for offenders first becoming involved in motor vehicle theft, for maintaining their involvement, and ultimately ceasing their offending.
Released: May 2007 - Size: 600kb

Arson of stolen vehicles is largely associated with insurance fraud and the destruction of forensic evidence, and adds substantially to the overall cost of motor vehicle theft to the community. This report provides a profile of arson incidents involving stolen vehicles in both New South Wales and South Australia.

Findings indicate that arson of stolen vehicles increased steadily in South Australia in recent years, but remained more stable in New South Wales. However, arson of stolen vehicles remained a larger problem in New South Wales, with 11.0% of vehicles stolen in the 2005/06 financial year being later recovered burnt, compared with 8.6% in South Australia. A large proportion of stolen vehicle arson incidents in 2005/06 occurred in Sydney's western and south-western suburbs, and in Adelaide's northern suburbs.

This report also features data from the New South Wales fire services regarding incendiary and suspicious vehicle fires in New South Wales. Implications for targeting this costly crime are discussed.
Released: April 2007 - Size: 86kb

This brief report updates the 2001 study by CARS on the effectiveness of different types of immobilisers in preventing vehicle theft. Using Australian passenger/light commercial theft data for 2006, the report shows that vehicles with an Australian Standard (AS) Immobiliser have the lowest theft rate, which is a similar finding to the earlier study.
Released: January 2007 - Size: 79kb

This summary document outlines a study investigating the impact that compulsory immobilisation of new passenger vehicles has on the motor vehicle theft profile in Australia. Brown & Thomas (2003) investigated the effect of compulsory immobilisation in the UK and concluded that although immobilisers were effective in reducing vehicle theft rates overall, there was some evidence of displacement toward theft of older, non-immobilised vehicles.

This study replicates the method of Brown & Thomas using Australian CARS data, and shows that immobilisers are associated with a strong decline in motor vehicle theft in Australia in recent years. There is also some evidence of displacement toward older vehicles, particularly for unrecovered thefts. Improvements in vehicle security are thought to account for the displacement among newer vehicles. This is consistent with the 'reduced-pool theory' which predicts that as the vehicle fleet becomes increasingly immobilised, theft rates overall will continue to fall.

The full article is published in Security Journal 2007; Vol. 20, Number 2, pp 111-122.
Released: January 2006 - Size: 303kb

This report presents data regarding thefts of light commercial vehicles throughout Australia for the 12-month period to September 2005. Analyses include thefts by state/territory, make, year of manufacture, estimated vehicle value and immobiliser status. The report shows that approx. $67 million worth of light commercial vehicles were stolen during the 12-month period, of which almost $16 million remained unrecovered.
Released: December 2005 - Size: 302kb

This study, using Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) data, reports a strong link between drug use and motor vehicle theft (MVT). The study examined information collected from a nonrepresentative sample of 7,260 adult detainees from January 2003 to December 2004 and the findings of urine samples provided by more than 80 percent of the detainee participants.

Nine out of ten MVT offenders tested positive to at least one drug with almost six in ten testing positive to at least two. The proportion of MVT offenders who tested positive for amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabis and opiates was higher than for other offenders. In the case of methadone and cocaine, both groups tested positive at comparatively equal, low levels.

The report also found that, compared to other offenders, MVT offenders had lower levels of education and were younger at the time of their first arrest. They were also more likely to be recipients of government benefits and income from crime and to have been arrested in the previous year.
Released: July 2005 - Size: 470kb

Research in South Australia has indicated that on an annual basis, juveniles account for approximately 40 percent of apprehensions for motor vehicle theft. To investigate the nature of this seemingly high level of involvement of young people in vehicle theft, this study analysed a cohort of individuals, born in 1985, who came into contact with the criminal justice system by way of an apprehension as a juvenile.

The findings suggest that involvement in vehicle theft is an indicator of a relatively serious offending lifestyle and that any intervention that is targeted towards these offenders is likely to reduce the number of repeat offenders and lessen the burden on the criminal justice system. The report also found that programs that address the motivations of juvenile vehicle theft offenders are likely to be the most effective in steering young offenders away from a criminal career and reducing the incidence of vehicle theft.
Released: October 2001 - Size: 253kb

There is little publicly available evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of immobilisers outside of laboratory controlled conditions. This paper provides a comprehensive evaluation of the influence that OEM immobilisers have on vehicle theft within Australia. The study concludes that there is strong evidence that the theft rate of an immobilised vehicle is significantly lower than that of a non-immobilised vehicle and that immobilisers built to the current Australian Standard were significantly more effective than immobilisers that do not meet this standard.
Released: June 2000 - Size: 543kb

Arson represents a significant social and financial cost to the South Australian community. This paper presents detailed analyses of the problem with a five year likely growth estimate.
Released: April 2000 -Size: 193kb

This paper aims to graphically illustrate the dispersion of motor vehicle theft for South Australia during 1998 and to show how the increase since 1997 was apportioned.