Sparesbox Blog

Are You Living in A Car Theft Hotspot?

By Mitch Babbs

Thu Oct 10 2019

Australians are a territorial bunch. You can see it in our state vs. state rugby league matches, our infamous and everlasting Sydney/Melbourne rivalry, even in our lighthearted (yet revealing) investigations into the way food outlets divide us along class lines.

For most of us, engaging in such discussions is a way to show pride in your postcode without things getting too heated. It’s always been a bit of fun trying to get one over on our inner-city or interstate rivals, but apart from where the losing state will fly the victor’s flag, little else normally results from the dialogue.

That is, until the findings of Budget Direct’s 2018 investigation into car thefts surfaced. Given Budget Direct’s vested interested in understanding where car burglaries are happening, it makes a lot of sense that they’d conduct some deep research into the topic. 

Between Budget Direct and’s independent research, one of the major findings that emerged were lists of the worst regions and states for car break-ins. 

Close to 55,000 vehicles were stolen in 2018, an increase of around 3,000 from the previous year (currently that’s a pace of one car stolen every 10 minutes). With a total estimated fleet of roughly 22 million vehicles in Australia, that figure indicates that roughly 1 out of every 400 cars in Australia gets stolen each year. 

Before we dive in, it’s worth noting that this is a list of burglaries (either short-term joyrides or profit-motivated thefts) in which a vehicle is taken illegally, ie. incidents where a car is broken into, but not stolen, are not included here. 

First up is our list of suburbs or localities where your car is most likely to be broken into:

  1. Brisbane, QLD (2,195)
  2. Gold Coast, QLD (1,562)
  3. Logan, QLD (1,176)
  4. Hume, VIC (942)
  5. Moreton Bay, QLD (933)
  6. Casey, VIC (784)
  7. Townsville, QLD (702)
  8. Greater Dandenong, VIC (633)
  9. Blacktown, NSW (614)
  10. Whittlesea, VIC (578)

Despite finishing with 4 of the top 5 spots on this unwanted list, QLD doesn’t have the highest rate of car theft in Australia. That dubious honour goes to the Territory, which tops the list at 1 car stolen out of every 198 cars in the state. The full list is below:

  1. Victoria (1 in 352 cars)
  2. Queensland (1 in 334 cars)
  3. NSW (1 in 537 cars)
  4. South Australia (1 in 498 cars)
  5. Tasmania (1 in 457 cars)
  6. Western Australia (1 in 384 cars)
  7. ACT (1 in 318 cars)
  8. Northern Territory (1 in 198 cars)

In spite of having such a high rate of car theft, the Northern Territory comes in at last on the list of total thefts, most likely due to its small population and total number of cars. The big winner—or big loser, depending on how you look at a list like this—is the garden state.

With an enormous 16,599 incidents comprising 30.6% of the national tally, Victoria comfortably establishes itself as the most active for car thieves. 

For any residents of the premier state currently thinking highly of New South Wales’ appearances on this list, it’s worth noting also that there were 13,288 car thefts making up 22.5% of the national tally. The caveat here is that due to the significantly higher number of cars in NSW, the rate of theft within the state is still quite low.

What might surprise some readers is that the most stolen cars nationwide are the Holden Commodore VE, Nissan Pulsar and Toyota Hilux. This lines up with other findings that show most profit-motivated thefts occur against cars valued at less than $5000, presumably due to higher security measures being enacted as car values ascend. The full list continues below:

  1. Holden Commodore VE (990)
  2. Nissan Pulsar N15 (729)
  3. Toyota Hilux MY05 (667)
  4. Holden Commodore VY (496)
  5. Ford Falcon BA (482)
  6. Nissan Navara D40 (467)
  7. Holden Commodore VZ (430)
  8. Toyota Hilux (MY12)
  9. Holden Commodore VT (393)

Because of recent changes in technology and the complicated electricals built into modern cars, hotwiring has fallen by the wayside as a thief's preferred method of getting your car going during a robbery. Keys stolen during a home burglary (37%) and keys left in the car itself (18%) are the main ways in which robberies happen. 

While the latter requires simply not leaving your keys in your car to fix (and let’s be honest, if you’re doing that consistently you won’t have a car for long), the former is a little harder. That’s why it’s important to not leave your car keys in an easily accessible, easily visible location in your house, even if it makes their whereabouts easier for you to remember.

For Victorians driving a VE Commodore, Brisbanians with a Nissan Pulsar, or really anyone with a car living in Australia, these are simple measures that might save you a whole lot of heartbreak.

Does your suburb or vehicle show up in the lists above? Are there any others that you think should have made the list?