Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

Low risk for car thieves

Crime facts info no. 16

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, January 2002

A report released by the Australian Institute of Criminology estimates that arrests are made in only 16 per cent of car theft cases. In 1998 there were 131,600 vehicles recorded stolen in Australia. In the same year approximately 21,000 offenders were charged with motor vehicle theft. Of adult offenders, one-fifth (n=3,254) were convicted of the offence and a further one-third (n=1,140) imprisoned. In other words, only one in every 90 incidents involving an adult offender resulted in a custodial sentence. The report "The Stolen Vehicle Parts Market" also looks in detail at the stolen vehicle parts market in Australia, providing a snapshot of the industry, the links between legitimate and illegitimate business and how stolen parts are distributed.

Estimates for the offence of motor vehicle theft, 1998



  • Gant, F. and Grabosky, P. 2001, "The Stolen Vehicle Parts Market", Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, no. 215, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.