Car crimes

Of households owning cars, 0.5 per cent stated that they were the exposed to car theft in 2016. During 2017, 12,100 takings of a car without consent (car thefts) were reported. During the most recent ten years, these offences declined by 57 per cent.

Victims of car crimes

Percentage of victimised households nationwide, 2006–2016. Source: SCS 2017.

According to the Swedish Crime Survey, 0.5 per cent of households were victims of car theft in 2016. This is the same level as 2015. In essence, the percentage of households that were victims of car theft during 2006–2011 was almost halved (from 0.9% to 0.4%) and has thereafter remained relatively unchanged.

The percentage of households that were victims of theft out of or from a vehicle was 2.8 per cent in 2016, which corresponds to approximately 118,000 households in Sweden. This is a greater percentage than 2015, when 2.4 per cent of households were victims. During the period 2006- 2010, the percentage of households that were victims of theft out of or from a vehicle declined dramatically (from 5.0% to 2.8%) and victimisation has thereafter remained at a relatively stable level.

Reported car crimes

Number of reported thefts out of or from motor vehicles, as well as taking a car without consent (car thefts) during 2008 – 2017. Source: Reported offences

Reported offences

In 2017, 63,900 car related offences were reported, including taking a car without consent (12,100 offences) and thefts out of and from a motor vehicle (51,800 offences), which is 1 per cent more than during 2016. Looking at both types of offences separately, the number of reported offences for taking a car without consent declined by 1 per cent, while thefts out of and from motor vehicles increased by 1 per cent. Since 2008, the number of takings of a car without consent declined by 57 per cent, while the number of thefts out of and from motor vehicles declined by 35 per cent.

Cleared car crimes

The person-based clearance rate² for taking a car without consent and theft out of or from a motor vehicle. Source: Processed offences

Processed offences

Car thefts are more reported than many other offences, which is, of course, a consequence of the fact that all cars are valuable and that insurance companies require a police report. Over 90 per cent of all stolen cars are found – at the same time, few car thefts are cleared.

During 2016, 12,200 takings of a car without consent were processed.¹ Of the processed takings of a car without consent, an investigation was commenced for 33 per cent while 67 per cent were dismissed with no investigation. Of the processed takings of a car without consent, investigation was limited in 2 per cent, of which almost all were following commencement of investigation.

The person-based clearance rate² for car thefts in 2016 was 5 per cent, which is the same as 2015. Compared with ten years ago, the level has declined by 1 percentage point.

During 2016, 51,200 takings of a car without consent were processed.¹ Of the processed takings of a car without consent, an investigation was commenced for 12 per cent while 88 per cent were dismissed with no investigation.

Persons suspected of car crime

Number of persons suspected of taking a car without consent (car theft) and theft out of or from a motor vehicle, 2007 – 2016. Source: Persons suspected of offences

Persons suspected of offences

The number of persons suspected of taking a car without consent was 22 per 100,000 population, a reduction of 9 per cent as compared with 2015. The number of suspects has declined by 54 per cent since 2007. The number of persons suspected of thefts out of and from a motor vehicle was 15 per 100,000 population, a reduction of 14 per cent as compared with 2015 . The number has declined by 54 per cent over the most recent ten years.

Persons found guilty of offences of car theft

Number of conviction decisions of taking and driving away as the primary offence, including aggravated taking and driving away, 2008 – 2017. Source: Persons found guilty of offences

Persons found guilty of offences

It is not possible to isolate car theft in the statistics of persons found guilty of offences; instead one must search on a legal designation which also applies to theft of other motor vehicles, for example motorcycles. A continuous decline over time can be noted in the number of conviction decisions³ for taking and driving away. There were 251 convictions for taking and driving away during 2016. Compared with the preceding year, the number of conviction decisions of taking and driving away declined by 20 per cent.

The decline for the year is a continuation of a long-term downward trend – over the past ten years – for conviction decisions in respect of taking and driving away. Compared with 2007, the number of conviction decisions has declined by 77 per cent. The most common sanctions for taking and driving away are imprisonment, suspended sentence, probation and youth service.

Thefts among young people

Approximately three per cent of those questioned in the School Survey on Crime 2015 state that they have either stolen a moped, motorbike or a car, or that they have stolen something out of a car in the last twelve months. In research, theft of motor vehicles is commonly regarded as one the major risk factors for a future criminal career.

¹) The statistic for processed offences reports the number of reported offences where the police, public prosecutor, or other investigatory authority has taken a decision regarding the offence.

²) Person-based clearance means that a person suspected of the offence has been tied to the offence through an indictment, the issuance of a summary sanction order, or the issuance of a waiver of prosecution. The person-based clearance rate reports the number of offences with person-based clearances during one year as a percentage of the number of processed offences during the same year. As from 2014, an adjusted person-based clearance rate is reported. The metric is essentially structured in the same way as previously, however, it is calculated based on all processed offences instead of all reported offences. The conviction rate reports the number of person-based clearances during one year as a per cent of all investigated offences, excluding offences with limitations of investigation during the same period.

³) The statistic regarding persons found guilty of offences reports the number of convictions which were issued during the year. "Conviction decision" means a conviction in a district court or decision of a public prosecutor, such as a summary sanction order or waiver of prosecution, during one calendar year. A single individual may be found guilty of an offence in different ways and on several occasions during one year. A conviction decision may contain decisions regarding several offences and several sanctions.