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Profile of Motor Vehicle Theft-Related Arson in New South Wales and South Australia

NCJ Number
Sophie Ransom
Date Published
May 2007
42 pages
This report presents results from a study investigating current trends in motor vehicle theft-related arson in New South Wales and South Australia, and offers a profile of incidents in both New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia.
Highlights of key findings include: (1) during the 2005-2006 financial year, 8.6 percent of vehicles stolen in South Australia and 11 percent of vehicles stolen in New South Wales (NSW) were later recovered burnt; (2) during the 2005-2006 financial year the total estimated value of stolen vehicles recovered burnt was $4.6 million in South Australia and $158.4 million in NSW; (3) in both States, vehicles recovered burnt were more likely than other stolen vehicles to be aged between 6 and 10 years, potentially related to instances of fraud; and (4) data from the NSW fire services confirmed findings from the CARS database, with most suspicious and incendiary vehicle fires occurring during the night and largely in Sydney’s southwestern area. Implications of the study surrounded the prevention of arson through the prevention of motor vehicle thefts. Arson of stolen vehicles adds substantially to the overall cost of motor vehicle theft to the community. There is little research in Australia investigating trends in vehicle theft-related arson or the motivations behind the crime. This study investigated Australian trends in motor vehicle theft-related arson, profiled incidents of arson of stolen vehicles in terms of vehicle, temporal and geographical characteristics, and looked for any changes in these profiles over time. Tables, figures, references