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Theft Watch - 12 months to March 2019

Issue 70 - June 2019


Total thefts
  • Nationally, 54,189 vehicles were stolen in the twelve months to the end of March 2019—an increase of 3 per cent which is largely attributable to a rise in motorcycle theft of 9 per cent.
  • Among the larger jurisdictions, Western Australia experienced the largest decline of 5 per cent or 212 fewer thefts.
  • Reductions were also recorded in the smaller jurisdictions—the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory and Tasmania—of between 2 and 16 per cent.
  • Queensland again recorded a statistically significant increase of 15 per cent.
Theft by motivation
  • Short term theft increased by 1 per cent (280 thefts), with a significant increase in short term motorcycle theft (7 per cent).
  • Profit motivated theft increased by 1,385 (10 per cent) driven by increases in both PLCs (11 per cent) and motorcycles (10 per cent).
Theft by vehicle type
  • PLC theft volumes increased by 2 per cent to settle at 43,090. The overall increase is a result of a 10 per cent rise in profit motivated theft.
  • Both Queensland (15 per cent ) and Victoria (2 per cent) recorded increases in PLC theft, largely attributed to increases in profit-motivated theft of 25 per cent (1,047 vehicles) and 16 per cent (464 vehicles), respectively.
  • Motorcycle theft rose by 9 per cent (or 720 vehicles) to a total of 8,928, with a recovery rate of 48 per cent.
  • The heavy/other group remained relatively stable with 2,171 thefts.
  • Note: All short term and profit motivated figures are based on 'Adjusted for late recoveries'.
  • For a more detailed analysis of current theft trends be sure to check out our interactive dashboard.

The statistics published from CARS may differ to those released by other agencies for a number of reasons including:

  • CARS data only captures motorised vehicles that are self- propelled and run on land without being restricted to rails or tram lines. This includes, but is not limited to, cars, motorcycles, campervans, trucks, lorries, buses, graders and tractors. Thus CARS data excludes other forms of motorised vehicles such as boats and planes, as well as non-motorised vehicles such as trailers, caravans, horse floats, etc.
  • CARS statistics, unlike some other published figures, excludes all records of ‘Attempted motor vehicle thefts’ due to difficulties in distinguishing these offences from criminal damage.
  • CARS excludes records that had been classified as ‘No offence detected’, ‘complaint withdrawn’ or ‘cancelled’. These classifications are typically used where it is determined the vehicle had not be stolen, for example when the owner has temporarily forgotten where they parked their car, or had forgotten that a family member was using the vehicle.
  • Differences in the extraction date of the data from the agencies reporting systems may affect both the number of thefts recorded and also their recovery status.
  • Differences in the selection criteria used for the data extract or analysis, i.e. the date the incident was reported to police, versus incident date.
  • CARS data also removes a small number of duplicate records contained in some datasets.
  • Where indicated, some CARS products apply an adjustment for late recoveries. This adjustment is the expected number of vehicles that will be recovered up to one year after the close of the data. It should be used when comparing the current level of short term or profit motivated theft with that from a previous time period. This adjustment does not change the total number of thefts. It only has the effect of moving a percentage of vehicles from the profit motivated category (not recovered) to the short term category (recovered) in the last period.
There were - vehicles stolen in Australia during 12 months to March 2019

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 12 months to March 2019
State or Territory Make model series year range 2018-04 to 2019-03
AUS Holden Commodore VE MY06_13 990
AUS Nissan Pulsar N15 MY95_00 729
AUS Toyota Hilux MY05_11 667
AUS Holden Commodore VY MY02_04 496
AUS Ford Falcon BA MY02_05 482
Top 5 Local Government Areas (LGA) for Passenger/light commercial vehicle thefts in Australia during 12 months to March 2019
State or Territory LGA 2018-04 to 2019-03
QLD Brisbane (City) 2,195
QLD Gold Coast (City) 1,562
QLD Logan (City) 1,176
VIC Hume (City) 942
QLD Moreton Bay (Regional Council) 933
Number and percent of PLC thefts in Australia by estimated value at time of theft, during 12 months to March 2019

State and Territory comparison - Passenger/light commercial vehicle theft

Number of PLC thefts during 12 months to March 2019
PLC short term thefts (five year trend to March 2019)
PLC profit-motivated thefts (five year trend to March 2019)

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 30 April 2019 for all states/territories except for TAS which is at 31 March 2019.

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 ( © 2019 NMVTRC. All rights reserved.

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