Theft Watch: Light Commercials

Light commercial utilities are more popular in Australia than ever before. In the last decade, registration of light commercial utilities increased by 52%.

Over this time, registrations of light commercial vans rose by just 5% and passenger vehicles increased 22%. The question is, is this surge in registrations of light commercial utilities reflected in theft numbers?

The NMVTRC has examined national light commercial vehicle thefts and registrations for the period from 2007/08 to 2017/18 to determine whether this change in the light commercial utility registration profile is also seen in thefts and if so, are utilities or vans most at risk?

From 2007/08 to 2017/18, the total number of utility thefts increased by 39%,with profit motivated utility thefts increasing by 53%. This means that profit motivated utility thefts have risen at the same rate as light commercial utility registrations over this time period. Light commercial vans:By contrast, light commercial van theft numbers have fallen considerably over the last decade. Overall, thefts have fallen 55% despite a 5% increase in registrations. So with this in mind, which vehicle type has the highest theft rate?

Interestingly, light commercial utilities and vans have the same theft risk. Based on the 2017/18 data,the theft risk for both types of vehicles was 2.7 thefts per 1,000 registrations.

Utility theft rates have fallen slightly fr om 2.9 thefts per 1,000 registrations in 2007/08 to 2.7 in 2017/18, while van thefts have reduced from 6.3 to 2.7 thefts per 1,000 registrations over the 10 year period.

It appears that utilities and vans are currently equally popular theft targets; however trends suggest that we may be at a crossover point and that within a year or two the theft rate of utilities will likely overtake that of vans.  

The implications of light commercial vehicle theft for owners are vast, including loss of income and means of transport.In 2017/18, the total value of utilities and vans stolen across Australia was $113 million, of which $24.6 million worth of utilities and $2.4 million worth of vans have not been recovered.These values do not include the cost of tools and accessories stored in the vehicles at the time of the theft, or the loss of income as a result of being unable to work.

For a detailed analysis of light commercial utility and van theft in Australia, please visit:

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