Spotlight: Steal from motor vehicle offences

5.1 Introduction and scope

In the year ending 31 December 2015, 1 in every 10 offences recorded by Victoria Police was for stealing from a motor vehicle. Victoria Police recorded 54,939 offences for steal from a motor vehicle in 2015, an offence rate of 923.2 per 100,000 people in Victoria. In five years the number of steal from a motor vehicle offences increased by 22.6%, from 44,818 offences in the year ending 31 December 2011.

Data for this spotlight has been extracted from the Victoria Police Law Enforcement Assistance Program on 18 January 2016 and reflect criminal offences and alleged offender incidents based on crime recorded by Victoria Police. The data covers a five year period from January 2011 to December 2015.

Theft from motor vehicle offences are defined as any offence recorded in LEAP that has been coded to the CSA offence classification category 'B42 Steal from a motor vehicle'.

5.2 Prevalence of thefts from motor vehicles

  Jan - Dec 2011 Jan - Dec 2012 Jan - Dec 2013 Jan - Dec 2014 Jan - Dec 2015
Number of theft from motor vehicle offences

44,818

46,914

44,207

49,312

54,939

Offence rate per 100,000 population

809.3

832.9

770.2

844.1

923.2

Alleged offender incidents

4,021

3,970

4,596

4,519

5,010

 

Between December 2011 and December 2012, the number of offences recorded for steal from a motor vehicle increased by 4.7% (2,096 offences) to 46,914 offences before dropping during 2013 to 44,207 offences. From December 2013 to December 2015 this number increased by 24.3% (10,732 offences).

In the year ending 31 December 2015, there were 5,010 alleged offender incidents with a principal offence of steal from a motor vehicle, an increase of 10.9% (491 incidents) from the year ending December 2014.

 

5.3 Trends over time

The graph below shows the number of theft from a motor vehicle offences recorded each quarter from January 2011 to December 2015. Kendall's rank order correlation was applied to the monthly offence count over the past two and five years to establish whether observed movements in the data over time represent statistically significant trends. There was a statistically significant trend over the past five years with an average increase of 5.5%. There was also a statistically significant trend over the past two years with an increase of 11.4% between 2014 and 2015.

Number of steal from motor vehicle offences recorded, January 2011 to December 2015

 

5.4 Steal from motor vehicle offences across Victoria

Police region Jan - Dec 2011 Jan - Dec 2012 Jan - Dec 2013 Jan - Dec 2014 Jan - Dec 2015
North West Metro

19,665

20,624

17,855

21,462

23,965

Eastern

9,046

9,156

9,325

9,759

9,688

Southern Metro

10,352

10,861

11,169

11,570

14,187

Western

5,685

6,201

5,725

6,398

6,936

 

The North West Metro region has consistently had the highest number and rate of steal from motor vehicle offences. In 2015, the Local Government Areas within the North West Metro region with the highest number of recorded offences were Brimbank (2,637 offences), Moreland (2,406 offences), Hume (2,387 offences) Darebin (2,196 offences) and Melbourne (2,168 offences).

However, accounting for population figures, the Local Government Areas across Victoria with the highest rate of steal from a motor vehicle offences per 100,000 population were Port Phillip (1,889.5), Yarra (1,876.5), Melbourne (1,671.1), Maribyrnong (1,622.4) and Ballarat (1,586.6).

Steal from a motor vehicle offence rate per 100,000 by Local Government Area, January to December 2015

5.5 Type of location where steal from motor vehicle offences occur

Of the 54,939 steal from a motor vehicle offences that were recorded in the year ending 31 December 2015, 40% (21,954 offences) took place at a 'community location', 39% (21,418 offences) were recorded at a 'residential location', 4.9% (2,701 offences) at an 'other location' and the remaining 16.1% (8,866 offences) had a missing or unknown location type.

The main types of community locations for steal from a motor vehicle offences were 'Street/footpath' (15,120 offences) and 'Other transport' (5,254 offences) locations.



5.6 Method and point of entry

Where an offence has involved illegal entry into a vehicle, Victoria Police have the ability to record both the point of entry and the method in which the person entered the vehicle. An offence may have involved multiple points and methods of entry and as such, an offence may be counted more than once in the following data.

Point of entry into the vehicle Jan - Dec 2011 Jan - Dec 2012 Jan - Dec 2013 Jan - Dec 2014 Jan - Dec 2015
Boot

752

678

586

700

890

Door

11,812

12,168

12,135

12,685

13,967

Hood

59

56

57

61

76

Soft-top

179

172

150

158

264

Sunroof

15

23

26

17

25

Vent window

451

416

351

415

365

Window

7,236

7,491

5,496

6,910

7,992

Other

1,379

1,435

1,132

1,611

2,589

Unknown

2,568

2,790

2,618

2,925

3,820

Missing

21,613

23,070

22,903

25,244

26,633

 

In the year ending 31 December 2015, the most common point of entry during a steal from motor vehicle offence was through a door, with 1 in 4 offences (25.4%, 13,967) involving this point of entry. 14.5% of offences (7,992) involved the offender entry through a window.

Method of entry into the vehicle Jan - Dec 2011 Jan - Dec 2012 Jan - Dec 2013 Jan - Dec 2014 Jan - Dec 2015
Forced Lock

2,782

2,458

1,905

2,370

2,420

Ignition Forced

116

118

108

113

154

Ignition Not Forced

1,179

1,231

1,287

1,712

2,075

Nil Visible Force

9,447

9,904

10,174

10,713

13,082

Smashed Window

6,212

6,499

4,596

6,026

7,109

Other

1,420

1,491

1,158

1,380

2,035

Missing

25,132

26,773

26,492

29,018

30,513

 

Of the offences that had a recorded method of entry, 23.8% of offences (13,082), recorded in the year ending 31 December 2015, showed no signs of visible force into the vehicle. 12.9% of offences (7,109) involved a smashed window and 4.4% of offences (2,420) showed signs of a forced lock.



5.7 Property stolen from vehicles

The graph below outlines the ten most common types of property stolen during a theft from a motor vehicle between January and December 2015. The item of property most frequently stolen from vehicles was cash or documents followed by personal property, number plates and tools.

In the past five years the number of tools that have been stolen from a vehicle has increased by 39.2% from 6,957 in 2011 to 9,685 in 2015. In the past year there has also been an increase of 18.3% (2,181 offences) in the number of number plates stolen.

Top ten items of property stolen during a steal from a motor vehicle offence, January 2014 to December 2015

5.8 Theft of number plates

Between December 2014 and December 2015, the number of offences involving the theft of a number plate increased from 11,901 offences to 14,063, an increase of 18.2% (2,162 offences). Across Victoria, the Local Government Area with the highest number of recorded offences for in which a number plate was taken was Brimbank (923 offences), Hume (813 offences), Moreland (749 offences), Whittlesea (701 offences) and Darebin (700 offences).



5.9 Investigation status

Investigation status Jan - Dec 2011 Jan - Dec 2012 Jan - Dec 2013 Jan - Dec 2014 Jan - Dec 2015
Arrest

3,038

3,558

3,587

4,328

4,403

Summons

779

742

767

664

449

Caution

117

97

79

57

34

Other1

333

333

374

387

299

Intent to Summons

444

523

556

750

760

Unsolved

40,107

41,661

38,844

43,126

48,994

Total

44,818

46,914

44,207

49,312

54,939

 

Of the 54,939 offences recorded for steal from a motor vehicle, 89.2% (48,994 offences) remained unsolved as at 18 January 2016 when the data was extracted. 8% (4,403 offences) had resulted in an arrest and 1.4% (760 offences) of offences, an intent to summons had been recorded.

5.10 Alleged offender incidents

In the year ending 31 December 2015, there were 5,010 recorded alleged offender incidents with a principal offence of steal from a motor vehicle. This was an increase of 24.6% (989 incidents) from the year ending December 2011.

89.0% (4,460 incidents) of the alleged offender incidents involved a male offender while 10.9% (547 incidents) involved a female offender. The remaining incidents involved an offender with an unknown sex.

Alleged offender incidents by sex and age, January to December 2015



 

 

Of the 4,460 male offenders, the largest age group was 15 - 19 years which accounted for 28.8% of all male offenders (1,286 incidents). The next highest age groups were 20 - 24 years (721 incidents) and 30 - 34 years (720 incidents), each making up 16.2% and 16.1% respectively.

Of the 547 female offenders, the largest age group was 25 - 29 years which accounted for 24.5% of female offenders (134 incidents).

As at 18 January 2016, 68.0% (3,409 incidents) of alleged offender incidents had resulted in an arrest, while 20.9% (1,048 incidents) had resulted in an intent to summons and 9.8% (492 incidents) offenders were issued with a summons.

Author
Crime Statistics Agency
Publisher
Crime Statistics Agency

 

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