The street, driveway, or public car parks? Where cars are stolen from most in Victoria

Nicola Dowse

Posted March 16, 2023

table detailing the where vehicles were stolen from the most in 2022

Combined residential locations are the most common location vehicles are stolen from.

Residential vehicle theft locations

One of the most common locations for vehicles to be stolen from is one of the places you should feel your vehicle is safest.  

Houses were the most common residential location for motor theft in 2022, with 3,285 vehicles stolen, followed by apartments, units and flats with 483 recorded thefts. Vehicles were also stolen from farmhouses 48 times in 2022, demonstrating the importance of security on farms

Where specific location data for the residential location was provided, driveways and carports were one of the most common specific locations vehicles were stolen from, with 1,745 vehicles stolen in 2022. Front yards (465 thefts), multi dwelling carparks (513), garages (288), sheds (172) and backyards (119) were also commonly recorded theft locations 

There are steps you can take to minimise the risk of vehicle theft at home, including reducing the potential for opportunistic crimes says Gordon.

“Parking in a locked garage or at least behind a locked gate takes away the opportunity for an offender to quickly jump into and steal the car,” she says.  

Other ways to reduce at-home vehicle theft include installing sensor lights and security cameras, ensuring garage access points are highly visible, and never letting an unfamiliar car follow you into a communal garage. 


A residential street in Melbourne with cars parked out the front

Cars parked on the street are at high risk of motor vehicle theft but there are ways to minimise the danger. Image: Getty


Vehicle theft locations in the community

While community thefts overall might be less common than residential, there’s one specific location that records more vehicle thefts than even houses.  

In 2022, 4,379 vehicles were reported as being stolen from the street or footpath, making up the overwhelming majority of vehicle thefts recorded in community locations.  

The latest figures do represent the lowest number of motor thefts recorded on the street since 2015 and is a marked drop on the peak of 5,661 in 2017. 

Data suggests that the risk is alleviated slightly by parking in a car park, with 822 vehicles reported stolen from single-level carparks and 182 reported from multi-level carparks in 2022. Railway car parks were also reported as having 141 motor vehicle thefts in the same year, while car parks at beaches recorded 13 for the same year.

Again, the reason for vehicles being stolen from either the street or car park shouldn’t be that surprising, given they’re some of the main locations for motorists to park their vehicles at when out and about. Gordon recommends some simple precautions that can further reduce your risk.

“Remove the temptation of valuables being in sight,” she says. “Ensure that plates have one-way screws fitted – so that the offender can see that if they steal the car, they are going to have a challenge to swap the plates, and fit data dots or something similar to be able to track your car if it is stolen.” 

Parklands (87 thefts) and other open spaces (62) also reported several thefts, and interestingly, three thefts were reported as occurring from a police station.


Minimise car theft tips

Follow these tips to help minimise your chances of car theft. 

Other common locations for vehicle theft

When it comes to thefts within the ‘other’ category (largely retail and business), non-specific other retail businesses (264 thefts), car sales yards (215), factories (200), warehouses (159), farmland (118) and service stations (115) are the most likely locations for thefts to occur.  

Shopping complexes recorded 108 vehicle thefts for 2022, while restaurants and fast food outlets reported 73. Sporting areas or facilities recorded 69 thefts and licensed premises 46.  

Vehicle thefts from ‘other’ locations in 2022 were the lowest since 2016.


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