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Car burglaries and unauthorised use

Car burglaries and unauthorised use

In 2019, around 1,700 passenger cars, 70 trucks, 490 motorcycles and 740 mopeds were reported stolen in Finland. 

Finland is one of the safest European countries regarding motor vehicle offences. Cars, for example, get stolen in Finland least often in the entire EU. Also the amount of cars that remain missing is small in Finland.

Theft for temporary use most common 

The Criminal Code distinguishes between motor vehicle theft, stealing for temporary use and unauthorised use. The offence is a theft when a vehicle is stolen with the intent to sell it further as such or disassembled into parts. These crimes are committed to obtain significant financial benefits and the activities can be very organised.

Only a minority of all motor vehicle thefts are crimes of this kind, because usually the offence is stealing of a motor vehicle for temporary use. Theft for temporary use means that the vehicle is taken from its owner without permission, used for a short period and then abandoned. Serious cases of theft for temporary use involve stealing property from the vehicle or damaging the vehicle. 

When a vehicle that has been rented, for example, is not returned, the offence usually isn’t theft for temporary use but rather unauthorised use.

Immobilisers improve car security

An important reason for the decline in motor vehicle offences is the use of various car immobilisers that make crimes more difficult. Electrical immobiliser devices became mandatory in all new passenger cars in 1998.
  
Unfortunately, the working methods of criminals and criminal technical tools are in constant development. The security of so called high-end cars can also be breached via the technology that makes a car comfortable and prevents crimes. 

Car thieves are often intoxicated

Thefts for temporary use and unauthorised use cases also endanger traffic safety. Not caring about speed limits is common, and car thieves are often intoxicated.

Research has shown that approximately one in three (31%) people suspected of theft for temporary use were under the influence of alcohol and/or some other intoxicant when committing the offence.

A police forensic investigator photographing the rear of a car. Back of an overt vest in the foreground.