Thefts and attempted thefts of motor vehicles in New Zealand have increased by 36.5% for the year ended June 30, according to AA Insurance.
COVID-19 lockdowns resulted in fewer vehicle collisions, but the insurer said these lockdowns did little to stop car thefts. Cars parked on the street are becoming more attractive targets for thieves, with vehicle theft-related claims increasing by 50% year-on-year.
Among New Zealand urban centres, Auckland saw a 43% year-on-year increase in vehicle thefts. Weekends and the warmer months also saw more thefts reported. According to the insurer’s claims data, the five most frequently stolen car models are the Nissan Tiida, Toyota Mark X, Toyota Aqua, Mazda Atenza and Mazda Demio.
Beau Paparoa, head of motor claims at AA Insurance, reminded car owners to be extra vigilant about their vehicle’s security.
“With the number of ram raids increasing, particularly in Auckland, it’s important to know that vehicles targeted for this activity tend to be at the lower end of the value chain, more than five years old and often parked on the street,” Paparoa said. “The increase in vehicle theft cannot solely be attributed to ram raids – we are also receiving reports about increased joyrides and cars apparently being stolen to get from A to B.”
AA Insurance advised motorists to always lock their cars, even when parked at home. Parking location is also a critical deterrent to theft, so AA Insurance said motorists should park in a garage, carport or off-street. If parking on the street, the car should be parked under a streetlight or in other well-lit areas.
The insurer also recommended that car owners purchase additional security equipment, such as alarm lights, immobilisers and steering wheel locks.
“While AA Insurance will always be there to help customers get back on the road if their vehicle is targeted, our claims data clearly shows that even simple security measures like a steering wheel lock can be an effective deterrent against thieves looking for a quick smash and dash,” Paparoa said.