Unusual effect of Covid-19 pandemic – fewer cars stolen in Latvia

Altered behaviour, work hours and methods, as well as regular police patrols and surprise raids to ensure compliance with epidemiological restrictions have all had an effect on car theft statistics.
Compared to the same period of 2020, the number of stolen cars in Latvia has gone down 43%.
The unusual conditions have also changed the «appetite» of car thieves – they have mostly switched to 9-23 year old cars, according to observations from BTA Baltic Insurance Company (BTA).
So far this year BTA has received insurance claim requests regarding 215 stolen cars, which is nearly half as many when compared to 2020 and nearly three times below the number of claims received in 2015. And while the total number of thefts of insured cars continues steadily decreasing, there are also new trends observed. One of the most notable ones is the change in the age of stolen cars. While in the last decade cars one to ten years were at risk the most, now owners of new models can rest more easily.
The number of cars that are at least four years old are few in number. Cars that are even younger are stolen even more rarely now, it seems.
This year car thieves have mostly switched to nine years and older cars, it seems. This can be explained with the growing demand on the used cars market. This also increases demand for spare parts for cars of this age category. That being the case, however, the number of 20-23 year old cars stolen stands out. The price of such cars on the market most often does not exceed a couple of thousand euros. Car thieves have mostly targeted 13 year old cars in Latvia this year.
«The unusual circumstances we’ve been under for a year and a half have changed everyone’s lives. This includes criminals. Stealing cars has become more difficult because police patrol streets more often at night. This means any night-time pedestrian or car can attract attention from law enforcers. This is especially true for periods of tightened restrictions,» comments BTA Insurance Claim Department director Kārlis Liepiņš.
«Selling a stolen car has become harder as well.»