According to insurers' statistics, last year in Lithuania were recorded fewer petty thefts from cars than in 2019. However, the number of major thefts has remained similar. BMW, Volkswagen, and Mercedes Benz cars - being mostly stollen.
Andrius Žiukelis, the head of the Expertise Department of the insurance company BTA, says the lower number of car theft cases may be due to various quarantine restrictions applied almost all year round.
"People were more likely to be at home and less likely to go to out: visit their friends, go to the restaurants, cinema, nightclubs, etc. They do not leave cars in unsafe places, where it would be at risk of being spontaneously robbed.
However, the numbers of larger, apparently pre-planned thefts have not decreased. The objects of theft interest have changed - more luxurious BMW and Porsche cars have been attacked in previous years, and in 2020 Mercedes Benz has appeared next to it”, - he says.
BMW most popular against thieves in Vilnius
In recent years the company has recorded the largest number of car thieves in Kaunas, followed by Vilnius and Panevėžys. Thieves of different cities also target different brands: in Vilnius most popular is BMW, in Kaunas - Volkswagen or Mercedes are mostly stolen, in Panevėžys - BMW and Toyota cars.
Statistics of the insurance company show that Audi, Volvo, and Lexus cars are also frequently broken into.
The expert says that illegal activities are driven by the relationship between supply and demand. "If, after a car accident, its parts are purchased as cheaply as possible and its origin is not taken into account, there is a demand for stolen parts and thus the wheel turns. A frequent buyer often knows or at least suspects that parts can be stolen. Especially when parts are purchased not from officially operating outlets but from advertisements, private sellers, who cannot indicate the origin of the parts. As long as people repair cars taking into account only the low price, the theft of car parts will not end”, - explains A. Žiukelis.
Attracts not only with items left in the cabin but also in the trunk
According to A. Žiukelis, car drivers often suffer damage not only from stolen items or parts but also from theft itself - sometimes stolen parts or items cost less than car parts damaged during the theft. The damage from such intrusions can exceed 5 000 euros.
In the case of minor and spontaneous thefts, the damage is usually less than 1 000 euros. In such cases, the thieves are usually in a hurry, so they grab either what they need most or objects that are particularly eye-catching.
"Even old car's wheels, airbags, players, wipers, or mirrors are stolen.
However, very often the goal is not the parts of the car itself, but the items left in it: cameras, phones, tablets, child seats, wallets. Therefore, no valuable items must be left in a visible place in the cabin, even when you’re leaving the car for a short time. Unattended things in the cabin encourage thieves to take advantage of the opportunity”, - advises the insurance expert.
Last year, thieves stole not only various smart devices from cars but also construction and car repair tools. "In previous years, such cases were almost non-existent, bus last year such thefts became quite common. Large tools are usually left not in the cabin, but the trunk, so the conclusion is that thieves take them off not by accident, but on purpose, by watching the yards, cars, and people's activities for some time before. It would be worthwhile to always bring such tools home, even if it seems safe to leave them in the trunk of the car - our data show that this is not always true”, - A. Žiukelis points out.