Australian states and cities with the most motor vehicle thefts

One state suffered nearly 16,000 thefts

Australian states and cities with the most motor vehicle thefts

Insurance News

By Roxanne Libatique

In 2021, over 20 million motor vehicles were registered across Australia, and over 190,000 of these vehicles fell victim to thieves, according to Budget Direct, one of the leading car insurers in Australia.

Budget Direct's latest road safety guide analysed local government and national crime and police data to find the most crime-prevalent areas across the country for motor and motor vehicle thefts.

It found that Queensland suffered the most from motor vehicle crime in 2021, with over 15,805 thefts in 2021 and a motor theft crime rate of 3.7 per 1,000 vehicles. By contrast, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) saw the lowest total number of motor thefts during the same period, with below 1,500. However, considering figures for 1,000 vehicles, the state ranked second for motor vehicle thefts, with 4.5 per 1,000.

New South Wales (NSW) had the lowest figures for average theft rate per 1,000 vehicles, with only 1.8, followed by Tasmania with 2.1 and South Australia with 2.3.

For cities, Budget Direct found that Brisbane had the most motor vehicle crime in 2021, with 3,623 motor vehicle thefts and a motor theft crime rate of 4.1 per 1,000 vehicles. It was followed by:

  • Gold Coast: 2,591 thefts and 2.6 per 1,000 vehicles;
  • Townsville: 1,118 thefts and 3.1 per 1,000 vehicles;
  • Cairns: 936 thefts and 4.4 per 1,000 vehicles;
  • Toowoomba: 657 thefts and 0.4 per 1,000 vehicles;
  • Adelaide: 504 thefts and 1.9 per 1,000 vehicles;
  • Newcastle: 492 thefts and 3.3 per 1,000 vehicles;
  • Sunshine Coast: 470 thefts and 1.8 per 1,000 vehicles;
  • Central Coast: 408 thefts and 3.8 per 1,000 vehicles;
  • Wollongong: 351 thefts and 4.5 per 1,000 vehicles;
  • Sydney: 198 thefts and 1.6 per 1,000 vehicles; and
  • Albury: 134 thefts and 0.8 per 1,000 vehicles.

Budget Direct said Brisbane's highest number of thefts from motor vehicles in 2021 might have been driven by its LGA, which covers a much bigger area than other cities such as Sydney.

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