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COVID cuts motor vehicle thefts to two-decade low

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Australian motor vehicle thefts last year declined 15% to the lowest level in two decades of data collection due to coronavirus restrictions.

Thefts fell to 49,438, dropping below the previous low of 50,277 in 2014, according to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC), which started in 1999.

“There is no question that COVID-19 related restrictions have had a significant dampening impact on theft volumes,” the NMVTRC says.

The council says people should “pop keys out of sight” in the home and keep doors and windows locked to reduce theft risks.

“As social and travel restrictions normalise nationally, it’s critically important that the community heed the NMVTRC’s Pop. Lock. Stop. message,” it says.

Victoria had the highest volume reduction of 2630, representing a 16% decline, while thefts were down 13% in NSW and 6% in Queensland.

Short-term and profit-motivated thefts fell across all vehicle types in all jurisdictions.

Heavy/other vehicles had the largest decrease in short-term thefts, with a 23% drop, while motorcycles had the highest decrease in profit-motivated thefts, with an 18% decline.

Nationally, the Holden Commodore VE, MY06/13 was the top theft target, followed by the Toyota Hilux MY05/11 and the Ford Ranger PX MY11+.