MORE THAN 3,400 cars and light goods vehicles were recorded stolen across the West Midlands in the first six months of this year, according to Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson.
Figures released by Mr Jamieson show this is three times more than during the same period in 2015 which saw 1,210 vehicles stolen.
Fords were apparently the most popular among thieves, with a five-fold increase from 184 to 1,070 vehicles stolen.
The data also reveals Audi had the most vehicles stolen as a proportion of the number registered in the area with BMW following closely behind.
M Jamieson has published the statistics for the first time in response to the rise in vehicle thefts over the last few years and he will continue to release figures every six months, he says.
The PCC for the West Midlands has been leading a national campaign calling on motor manufacturers to close security loopholes.
Mr Jamieson said he wants motorists to be able to make informed decisions when purchasing a car.
According to Mr Jamieson, keyless cars are increasingly being targeted by organised gangs who are taking advantage of weaknesses in vehicle security systems.
Once stolen, cars are often shipped abroad or cut up and sold for parts in so called ‘chop shops’.
In April Mr Jamieson met with BMW, Honda, Ford, Nissan, Audi and Jaguar Land Rover to demand they do more to protect cars from thieves. Other manufacturers were invited, but didn’t attend the summit.
The PCC says he has ensured West Midlands Police has made clamping down on vehicle thefts a priority
Mr Jamieson said: “I have been saying for a long time now that manufacturers have taken their eye off the ball when it comes to vehicle security.
“As keyless technology has grown in popularity more and more cars have vanished from driveways as their owners sleep. Some vehicles are being stolen by criminals in less than a minute.
“Now it is time for consumers to see for themselves how secure the cars they are buying really are.
“That is why I have chosen to name and shame car manufactures in this way and I will continue to do so until they improve security and help reduce thefts.
“Whilst I’m determined to stand up to the big multinational companies who make our cars I won’t shy away from putting pressure on West Midlands Police either.
“It has a big part to play in clamping down on these thefts. I am ensuring it is closing down the ‘chop shops’ and catching serial criminals who commit a high proportion of the vehicle thefts. It is one of the force’s top priorities”.