January 30, 2020

Luxembourg sadly takes top honours in car theft

According to a Eurostat study published this past December, Luxembourg is the most at-risk European country for car theft. However, this finding still needs to be put into perspective. Your car may not be in such great danger after all; it all depends on its brand and what kind of extras it comes equipped with.

Uncomfortable numbers

From 2015 to 2017, across the European Union, 697,000 cars were reported stolen. As a result, the European Statistical Office (Eurostat) sought to take a deeper look into the background of these thefts and to report back this information to each EU country.

In proportion to the number of the Grand Duchy’s inhabitants, the figures are overwhelming for Luxembourg. Daniel Legros, claims inspector at Foyer, lays out these findings as follows: “Based on these figures, over the past three years, there were 328 car thefts per 100,000 inhabitants. In France, the average is 247 vehicles; 132 in Belgium and 60 in Germany”.

Grand Duchy government in denial

The jury is still out about who’s right about these figures, but the Minister for Internal Security, François Bausch, reports and altogether different reality.

He believes, based on figures from the Grand Duchy’s police force, the average number of stolen vehicles over this period is 54.83 per 100,000 inhabitants. This is a big difference that would rank Luxembourg at a happier 20th place on the stolen vehicle leader board.

Most at-risk automobiles

A word of caution for Land Rover owners: This is the preferred brand of car thieves. It has a 44% theft exposure (number of cars stolen vs number of cars on the road), followed by BMW (14%), Mercedes-Benz (9%), Audi (6%) and Volkswagen (5%). 

The type of body style is another risk factor. As thieves are fashion-conscious too, they prefer SUVs, preferably of value, because on average, a hot Land Rover can fetch more than €70,000.

Dangers of Keyless Go

The police of the Grand Duchy have been issuing warnings about the perils of this keyless door opening and ignition system because this feature may be one of the reasons for the increase in thefts. This is particularly relevant since this feature comes standard in Land Rover’s top-of-the-range vehicles.

The Keyless Go system emits a code through the key. Thieves can intercept this signal and extend it remotely, up to 100 metres away from the automobile. Due to the car of having no way of recognising its owner, it unlocks its doors and deactivates all its security systems such as the alarm and immobiliser. 

This results in a theft of a vehicle with no damage – simple, fast, and clean!

A much more attractive option

Some vehicles come equipped with GPS systems. All you need is a smartphone to be able to locate your car at all times. If you do decide to get a car equipped with Keyless Go, make sure you tick this option.

Cars can also be retrofit with a GPS.

Our recommendations for preventing auto theft

Even though the figures may be a subject of controversy, Luxembourg is clearly a fertile breeding ground for auto thieves due to its abundance of high-end cars and speedy border crossings. Here are some of our top tips for fighting auto theft:

  • Park the car in a locked garage
  • Do not keep the key near the front door of the car (especially with Keyless unlocking)
  • Install a GPS tracker
  • When parking on the street, always park your car in a well-lit location
Share this article: