Report reveals level of car crime in airports across UK

Crime / Sun 7th Jul 2024 at 09:14am

WESTFIELD London is home to the car park in England where crime is most common, a new study has found.   

Insurance experts Howden Insurance analysed official police data in England on the number of crimes committed on or near a parking area between February 2023 and January 2024. Approximately 195,821 crimes were considered across 16,740 parking areas. The areas with the most crimes in these 12 months were then ranked to reveal England’s parking spots most susceptible to crime. 

Westfield London topped the study as the car park in England with the highest crime rate, with 742 crimes recorded in a 12-month period. Shoplifting was the most common crime in the area, with 237 offences reported. Crimes categorised as ‘other theft’, which “includes theft by an employee, blackmail and making off without payment” according to Police.uk, and ‘theft from the person’ took second and third with 152 and 111 reports, respectively. Violence and sexual offences were the most frequently reported crimes after theft, totalling 91 over a year.   

London Stansted has the airport car park where crimes are most common and second of any car park in England. Between February 2023 and January 2024, 689 crimes were reported in the area “on or near a parking area”. Other theft was the most common crime in the area, with 184 incidents recorded. Approximately 150 crimes of antisocial behaviour occurred, making it the second most frequent crime at London Stansted.   

London Gatwick is home to England’s third worst car park for crime, with 580 crimes recorded over 12 months. The airport is a particularly treacherous area for ‘other theft’, with 203 incidents of employee theft, blackmail, and more. Shoplifting and violence/sexual offences also occurred frequently in the area, with 98 and 55 incidents reported, respectively.  

Houndshill Car Park in Blackpool secured fourth place in the study, ranking as the worst car park for crime in the North West. Approximately 565 crimes around Houndshill Shopping Centre have been noted, with shoplifting making up 205 of the total incidents. The area is one of the worst for antisocial behaviour, with 122 reports lodged relating to this type of crime. Violence and sexual offences were the third most common crime, with 104 reports.   

London’s Hyde Park rounded out England’s five car parks most susceptible to crime. Between February 2023 and January 2024, 527 crime reports were received on or near the parking area. Theft from the person was the most frequent crime, with 155 reports, followed by violence and sexual offences (119) and other theft (106). The area of Westminster also ranked as the second worst region for car park crime, with 3,736 crimes taking place in or around parking in the area.  

Bradford’s Nelson Street car park in Yorkshire secured the sixth spot on the study. Over the 12-month period, 423 crime reports were lodged on or near the parking area, making it the Yorkshire place where car park crimes are most common. Violence and sexual offences were the most prominent crimes in the area, making up 142 of the total incidents. Public order incidents like riots, violent disorders, intentional harassment, distress, and more were common, with 85 reports made during the period. Approximately 64 shoplifting crimes were also recorded.   

Crime at Southampton Central’s car park is more common than any other train station in England. The car park at Southampton Central took seventh in the ranking with 413 total crimes nearby. The station is also home to the worst car park for violence and sexual offences among the most dangerous spots, with 169 offences reported as incidents of this nature. Drug and public order offences also remain common in the area, representing 71 and 69 of the total crimes recorded, respectively. The city of Southampton is also the sixth worst in the country for crime near parking, accumulating 2,153 incidents of crime on or near parking areas.  

The Centre in Feltham is among the country’s worst places for crime in or around a parking area. The shopping centre ranked eighth thanks to 403 crimes recorded on or near a parking area between February 2023 and January 2024. Shoplifting and antisocial behaviour are the most common crimes at The Centre. Offences related to shoplifting reached 113, while reports of antisocial behaviour crimes were slightly less at 110.   

The Glades in Bromley is the final shopping centre to be named among England’s car parks where crime is most frequent. From February 2023 to January 2024, exactly 392 crimes were recorded on or near the parking area. Theft dominated the most prominent crimes in the area, with shoplifting, theft from the person, and other theft accumulating 173, 66, and 42 incidents, respectively. Separately, 33 reports of violence and sexual offences were also recorded.   

Grey’s Yard car park in Morpeth is the tenth and final location to rank as one of England’s worst car parks for crime. Just off Oldgate, the area has been home to 380 nearby crimes over 12 months, making it the North East’s hotspot for car park crimes. Violence and sexual offences represent 152 of the total crimes, while public order offences make up 68 of the total incidents. Grey’s Yard is the only location in the top 10 to feature criminal damage and arson among its most common crimes, with 56 incidents of this type occurring.   

Birmingham is the city in England home to the most car park crimes, with 6,487 crimes reported on or near a parking area, almost double the number of incidents than second place Westminster. Other cities with high car park crime rates include Newcastle upon Tyne and Leeds, with 2,714 and 2,612 crimes, respectively.  

A spokesperson for Howden Insurance commented on the findings: “Violence and sexual offences are the most common crimes on or near car parks across England, with 55,730 incidents reported between February 2023 and January 2024, more than 20,000 more than the next most prominent crime.  

“As the data suggests, violence and sexual offences are more than five times more likely on or near a parking area than vehicle crime. Incidents of vehicle crime totalled 10,896 during the 12-month period, with six crime types being more frequent.

“When parking, drivers are reminded to avoid dimly lit areas and choose a space with high visibility when possible. While it is recommended to leave no valuables in your car, if this is absolutely necessary, then ensure they are well hidden and not visible so as to thwart potential thieves.”

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