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Theft Watch - 12 months to September 2019

Issue 72 - December 2019


Total thefts
  • Nationally motor vehicle theft rose 7 per cent (3,916 vehicles) in the 12 months to September 2019 to a total of 56,846 vehicles.
  • Motorcycle thefts suffered the largest increase of 12 per cent followed by a 9 per cent increase in the heavy/ other vehicle group.
  • PLC thefts rose 6 per cent (2,738) to a total of 45,071 cars stolen. The national PLC recovery rate has remained stable over the 12 months with almost 8 in 10 vehicles recovered.
PLC Five-year trends
  • The 5-year trend for short-term PLC thefts by state and territory shows improved positions for NSW and Western Australia (WA) while Queensland’s theft volume has doubled. The other jurisdictions remained stable. When combined, the national result is 12 per cent up on 2015 levels.
  • The 5-year trend for profit-motivated theft by state and territory shows a significantly improved position for NSW & WA, worsened outcomes for Vic, Qld and SA, and stable conditions in other jurisdictions. When combined, the net change is 7 per cent increase over 2015.
  • The NMVTRC is working actively with Queensland stakeholders including Queensland Police, RACQ and the Suncorp Group about a range of initiatives to help motorists reduce theft risks, divert young offenders from crime and close off loopholes that allow some criminals to trade older stolen vehicles as scrap metal.

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  • CARS excludes records that had been classified as ‘No offence detected’, ‘complaint withdrawn’ or ‘cancelled’.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 September 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 September 2019
State or Territory Make model series year range 2018-10 to 2019-09
AUS Holden Commodore VE MY06_13 1030
AUS Toyota Hilux MY05_11 665
AUS Nissan Pulsar N15 MY95_00 613
AUS Nissan Navara D40 MY05_15 484
AUS Holden Commodore VY MY02_04 482
Top 5 Local Government Areas (LGA) for Passenger/light commercial vehicle thefts in Australia during 12 months to September 2019
State or Territory LGA 2018-10 to 2019-09
QLD Brisbane (City) 2,520
QLD Gold Coast (City) 1,650
QLD Logan (City) 1,218
QLD Moreton Bay (Regional Council) 944
ACT Greater ACT 931
Number and percent of PLC thefts in Australia by estimated value at time of theft, during 12 months to September 2019

State and Territory comparison - Passenger/light commercial vehicle theft

Number of PLC thefts during 12 months to September 2019
PLC short term thefts (five year trend to September 2019)
PLC profit-motivated thefts (five year trend to September 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 31 October 2019 for all states/territories except for TAS which is at 30 September 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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