London Faces Carjacking Threat

Mon 11th Jul 2022

The life of a motorist in London is certainly not easy these days. Faced with daily costs for low emission and congestion zones, higher fuel costs and more parking fines than any other region in the country, and now a new report reveals that drivers in the capital are facing a wave of carjackings.

Incidences of aggravated vehicle thefts are on the rise in London says a report published this week by insurance firm Direct Line. According to analysis of data provided by the Metropolitan Police there are currently two incidents of aggravated vehicle taking a day, with nine incidents for every 10,000 registered vehicles in the last three years.

Technically the problem might not be as bad as we might think, the picture of car drivers being held up and being ordered out of their cars, is more likely in reality to be a series of motorcycle thefts, whereby armed gangs arrive swiftly in broad daylight with angle grinders to steal motorbikes and scooters. The official description of aggravated vehicle taking includes the use of dangerous driving and also where there is damage to the car itself in the process of theft, so there’s quite a wide range of potential crimes included.

Despite this, it is clear that the capital has an issue with the crimewave, with Croydon having the most number of aggravated vehicle takings (139) between 2019 and 2021, while Tower Hamlets has the highest average per 10,000 vehicles with 18.3 thefts.

According to one car thief speaking in the Direct Line report, the rise is in part due to the fact that the current generation of youngsters has no issues with using violence.

“The research will raise questions as to whether the current penalties are sufficient and if more can be done to protect innocent motorists,” said Lorraine Price, head of motor insurance at Direct Line.

“Our work with the University of Huddersfield aims to learn from the car thieves themselves, to help understand their motivation and what measures are needed to reduce this illegal activity.”