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Dude, where's my car?

Hot property: Holden's Commodore VS is the most popular target for car thieves in Melbourne.

Statistics show car theft in Victoria is on the increase, despite a reduction in other reported crimes

27 Jun 2001

CAR theft in Victoria has risen an alarming 16 per cent since last year, according to the latest report published by the RACV.

In the 12 months to March, 36,404 cars were stolen in Victoria, an increase of over 5000 cars on the previous year.

Older cars are the most common targets due to their lack of standard security features, such as engine immobilisers.

With the average age of vehicles in Australia's national fleet reaching nearly 12 years, there is an abundant supply for opportunist thieves, who are believed to be responsible for around 75 per cent of all car thefts.

"Once again we find the community increasingly falling prey to opportunist thieves who would rather steal a car to get home than pay for a taxi," RACV chief engineer Michael Case said.

"Professional theft, which involves cars being stolen for their parts or to be illegally resold to innocent buyers, also appears to be on the increase." Holden's VS Commodore ranks highest on the shopping list of car thieves in Melbourne, ahead of VT and VR versions, according to figures from the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.

Ford's EF, EL and AU Falcon models are next on the list, while Hyundai's top-selling Excel is also frequently targeted.

If you are hoping to hang on to your car, then the City of Melbourne is the worst place you can park it, with 2776 cars stolen from the locality in the last year. Brimbank was next with 2061, followed by Greater Dandenong (1747) and Port Phillip (1710).

Shopping centre car parks are also popular spots with car thieves. Chadstone Shopping Centre recorded the most RACV Insurance claims during the survey period from April, 2000, to March, 2001. They also favoured Dandenong Plaza, Highpoint Shopping Centre and the Crown Casino precinct.

"We all end up paying for this crime," Mr Case said.

"It's not just through increased insurance premiums, but there's the inconvenience to the victim and the sense of violation they feel even if they get their vehicle back." Less than half of the popular Commodore models stolen in the Melbourne area are recovered.

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