Liverpool Victoria Insurance conducted research into the frequency of car crime around the country. It found that more than half of all UK motorists have at some point been a victim of vehicle vandalism, and these crimes usually occur when the car is parked outside the owner's home.
In the past 12 months, one in ten motorists had their car vandalised, which cost them around £953 million worth of damage. This amounted to roughly £260 per person.
While 54% of all UK motorists cars have been damaged at some point, an unlucky 25% of drivers' cars had been vandalised twice and a really unfortunate 10% had been the victims of car vandalism three or four times.
The crimes usually occur in the late evening, when it's dark, and are more likely to take place outside the owner's home in a residential street (57% of cars) rather than in a city centre (7% of cars). Often when a vandal attacks a car, it is part of a crime spree since 17% of victims report other cars in their street also being damaged.
So where does all this vehicle crime take place? These are the top 10 hotspots according to Liverpool Victoria:
- South East London
- North West London
- Southend on Sea
John O'Roarke, managing director of Liverpool Victoria, said: "Vandalism is a malicious and pointless crime. It is a big worry for motorists and a cause of distress for the victims, particularly those who are targeted on their own doorstep. Keep your car in a garage if you can or park it in a well-lit area as the majority of vandalism happens at dusk or after dark."
The research also revealed that 19% of drivers are put off buying top-of-the-range vehicles in case it gets vandalised. And they are right to be concerned. Unsurprisingly, according to Swift Insurance, the most vandalised cars are the expensive, flashy makes such as Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes.
Keying and scratching paintwork are the most common types of vandalism, but windows and mirrors are also smashed, antennas bent and tyres slashed. Less common crimes are the windscreen being smashed, the badge stolen and graffiti painted on the car.
The penalties for vandalism depend on the extent of the damage caused. If the damage costs more than £5,000 to repair, the offender may face a maximum of six months' imprisonment and a £5,000 fine.
For damages costing less than £5,000, the maximum jail time is three months and the fine may be up to £2,500.
Vandals caught in the act may be issued an on-the-spot fine ranging from £50 to £80 depending on the offender's age.
Read more on the story (Liverpool Victoria Insurance)
Read about vandalism (FindLaw)
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