Police data revealed that Land Rover and Ford were in the top three for the most-stolen cars during 2022 as a police official launched a call for firms to take action.
Thieves made off with 3,677 Ford models during the period which represented a 33 per cent increase on the 2,765 recorded in 2021 – making it the most-targeted manufacturer in the West Midlands.
The brand was closely followed by Mercedes, which saw an almost 20 per cent rise to 1,076, and claimed second place ahead of Land Rover vehicles.
The firm, whose parent company has a plant on the outskirts of Wolverhampton, saw a major 76.3 per cent increase on 2021 levels with 1,047 thefts.
We saw this cloned & recently stolen Ford Focus in Shirley. The 4 occupants decamped following a brief pursuit before we arrested 2 & enquires continue to ID the others. ***Fords are heavily targeted in thefts. If you have one please consider adding extra security devices. 🔐 🚗 pic.twitter.com/9GZT4RsQL0— WMP Traffic (@Trafficwmp) March 18, 2023
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said: "These criminals are increasingly finding new ways of getting around car security features and it’s deeply concerning.
"Cars are sometimes being stolen in less than a minute, as people sleep in their beds. We need manufacturers to do much more, to ensure that car security is a top priority and fit for purpose.
"Demand for stolen cars and stolen car parts has boomed and it is encouraging thieves to steal more and more vehicles.
"I have asked West Midlands Police to prioritise car crime and go after the organised criminals who are profiting from the thefts, but we also need manufacturers to look again at on-board car security features, to ensure they are a top priority and fit for purpose, to prevent organised car crime gangs profiting from vehicle theft."
Mr Foster has previously called for vehicle manufacturers to improve vehicle safety. Some thieves are known to get around the on-board car security features in a matter of seconds, allowing them to drive off with the vehicle whilst the owner sleeps at night. This can involve copying digital keys or boosting a car fob signal to trick the car into opening its doors and allowing its engine to start.
Mark Silverster, who is the Force Design Out Crime and Crime Reduction Manager at West Midlands Police, added: “Building up layers of security is key, be that your home or car.
“The use of Thatcham approved vehicle trackers is one of those layers, but they are a retrieval device. Therefore use of a visual theft deterrent such as a Sold Secure Gold approved steering wheel lock is also recommended. West Midlands Police have plenty of vehicle crime prevention advice."