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Theft Watch - Financial year 2017/18

Issue 67 - September 2018


Nationally motor vehicle theft in the 2017/2018 financial year was 6% lower than the previous financial year with a total of 52,722 vehicles stolen (i.e. 3,597 fewer thefts).

Heavy/Other vehicle thefts had the greatest reduction for both short term and profit motivated thefts compared to 2016/2017, with a -14% reduction for short term thefts and a -13% reduction for profit motivated thefts. This was followed by a reduction in short term PLC thefts with a -9% reduction.

Victoria continued its improvement with a 17% reduction over their 2016/2017 total. This equates to 3,084 fewer thefts in 2017/18, or a reduction in the daily average from almost 50 in 2016/17 to 42 thefts/day in 2017/2018.

Of the smaller jurisdictions both Tasmania and the Northern Territory recorded reductions of 273 and 225 thefts respectively.

Of the larger jurisdictions Queensland recorded an increase of 8% (or 850 extra thefts). This was offset by a reduction of 8% in South Australia.

For a more detailed analysis of current theft trends be sure to check out our interactive dashboard.

Key Findings

  • Total PLC theft decreased by 8 % (down 3,648) for the year with a total of 42,145 cars stolen.
  • Short term PLC thefts fell by 3,415 (-9%) with profit motivated theft fell by 233 (-3%).
  • Of the larger jurisdictions, WA recorded the largest increase of non-recovered PLC theft with an additional 134 (13%) thefts. NSW experienced a decline of 165 (-6%) in non-recoveries.
  • The national PLC recovery rate has remained relatively stable over the 12 months at 79%.
  • Motorcycle theft increased by 381 (+5%) to a total of 8,471 for the year and an adjusted recovery rate of 47%.
  • Heavy and other vehicles reduced by 14% to a total of 2,106 thefts during the 2017/2018 financial year.
  • Large reductions in other vehicle thefts were recorded in WA (down -44% to 309 thefts). The only increase in other vehicle thefts was seen in NSW, a 4% increase compared to the previous financial year.
  • The adjusted recovery rate for other vehicles in 2017/18 was 53%.
There were - vehicles stolen in Australia during financial year 2017/18

All motor vehicles

Other vehicles icon Passenger and light commercial vehicles icon Motorcycle icon
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Passenger/light commercials

Passenger and light commercial vehicles icon
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Motorcycle icon
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Other motor vehicles

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Top 5 Passenger/light commercial vehicle theft targets in Australia during financial year 2017/18
State or Territory Make model series year range 2017/18
AUS Holden Commodore VE MY06_13 909
AUS Nissan Pulsar N15 MY95_00 743
AUS Toyota Hilux MY05_11 590
AUS Holden Commodore VY MY02_04 535
AUS Ford Falcon BA MY02_05 527
Top 5 Local Government Areas (LGA) for Passenger/light commercial vehicle thefts in Australia during financial year 2017/18
State or Territory LGA 2017/18
QLD Brisbane (City) 2,115
QLD Gold Coast (City) 1,551
ACT Greater ACT 1,102
QLD Logan (City) 1,014
VIC Hume (City) 934
Number and percent of PLC thefts in Australia by estimated value at time of theft, during financial year 2017/18

State and Territory comparison - Passenger/light commercial vehicle theft

Number of PLC thefts during financial year 2017/18
PLC short term thefts (five year trend to 2017/18)
PLC profit-motivated thefts (five year trend to 2017/18)

For a more detailed analysis of current theft trends be sure to check out our interactive dashboard

Short term thefts are defined as motor vehicles that were stolen and recovered, profit motivated thefts were those stolen and not recovered. Recovery status is as at 31 July 2018 for all states/territories except for TAS which is at 30 June 2018.

Recovery data used in this report has been adjusted for the number of missing vehicles that are expected to be recovered up to a year after the close of the data period. This adjustment has the effect of moving number of thefts from the profit motivated (not recovered category) to the short term (recovered category).

The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) acknowledges all police services, registration authorities, participating insurers, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Glass’s Information Services and Insurance Australia Group for the supply of the data on which this report is complied. Theft incident data may be subject to later revision by the data providers. This work is copyright. Material may be reproduced for personal, non-commercial use or for use within your organisation with attribution to the NMVTRC ( © 2018 NMVTRC. All rights reserved.

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