New Zealand’s Top 10 Highest Vehicle Theft Areas in 2023

New Zealand is known for its stunning landscapes, friendly people, and low crime rates compared to many other countries. However, like any nation, it is not immune to vehicle theft.

In 2022, certain areas in New Zealand experienced higher vehicle theft rates than others. These areas, while beautiful and vibrant in many ways, face unique challenges in terms of vehicle security, making it crucial for residents and authorities to stay vigilant and employ effective preventive measures to safeguard their vehicles

In this article, we will explore the top 10 highest vehicle theft areas in New Zealand in 2022, shedding light on the regions where vehicle owners should exercise increased caution.

The Top 10 Highest Vehicle Theft Areas in New Zealand in 2022

1. Auckland - 2,986 Vehicles Stolen in 2022

Auckland’s status as the largest and most densely populated urban area in New Zealand makes it a prime location for vehicle theft with 2,986 vehicles stolen in 2022. 

The higher number of vehicles on the road, coupled with more opportunities for thieves, can lead to an increased incidence of vehicle theft. With a population of approximately 1.44 million people in 2022, one vehicle is stolen every 65 minutes on average.

2. Canterbury - 1,214 Vehicles Stolen in 2022

While not as populated as Auckland, Canterbury, with its major city of Christchurch, still experiences a significant number of vehicle thefts with 1,214 vehicles stolen in 2022. 

This is attributed to the high population of approximately 655,00 people and urbanisation in the region, which provides more opportunities for thieves.

3. Waikato - 884 Vehicles Stolen in 2022

One fact to note is that rural areas in Waikato, with their large properties and distances between homes, sometimes face challenges related to vehicle theft. 

Despite experiencing a population growth of 0.9% over the past year, vehicle theft rates have managed to remain stable at nearly 1,000 stolen every year.

4. Wellington - 663 Vehicles Stolen in 2022

In Wellington, New Zealand, a city with a population of approximately 543,700 people, the issue of vehicle theft remains a concern. 

In 2022, a total of 663 vehicles were reported stolen, signalling the importance of vigilance and preventive measures for car owners. While the absolute number of thefts might seem relatively low compared to larger urban centres, it’s essential to recognise that vehicle theft can have a significant impact on individuals and communities alike.

5. Manawatu-Wanganui - 485 Vehicles Stolen in 2022

In Manawatu, a region with a population of around 33,500 residents, vehicle theft is also a concerning issue. In 2022, there were 485 reported cases of stolen vehicles, a significant number for a community of this size. 

While there may be fewer incidents than in more populous areas, the impact of vehicle theft on a smaller population can be disproportionately disruptive.

6. Bay of Plenty - 440 Vehicles Stolen in 2022

In the Bay of Plenty, a region boasting a population of around 346,900 residents, vehicle theft remains a noteworthy concern. In the year 2022, there were 440 reported cases of stolen vehicles. 

Although this number may seem relatively low considering the size of the population, it serves as a reminder that no community is entirely immune to the threat of vehicle theft.

Steps to Reduce the Risk of Vehicle Theft

7. Northland - 302 Vehicles Stolen in 2022

In the Northland Region of New Zealand, home to approximately 201,200 residents, the issue of vehicle theft also remains a concern. In 2022, there were 302 reported cases of stolen vehicles, a number that underscores the importance of remaining vigilant even in less densely populated areas.

8. Hawke's Bay - 187 Vehicles Stolen in 2022

In the regional council area of Hawke’s Bay, which boasts an estimated population of 182,700 residents, vehicle theft has also made its presence felt. 

In 2022, there were 187 reported cases of stolen vehicles, a number that may appear modest in comparison to larger cities but is still significant for this community.

9. East Coast - 75 Vehicles Stolen in 2022

In the East Coast, often referred to as Eastland or the Gisborne Region, New Zealand, where the estimated population stands at approximately 52,100 residents, vehicle theft has been a notable concern. In 2022, there were 75 reported cases of stolen vehicles. 

While the region is characterised by its natural beauty and a relatively smaller population compared to urban centres, the impact of vehicle theft on this close-knit community is substantial.

10. Otago - 73 Vehicles Stolen in 2022

In Otago, a region with an estimated population of 33,500 residents, vehicle theft is comparatively low, with only 73 reported cases in 2022, the lowest on this list. 

This remarkable statistic underscores the secure living environment of Otago and the effectiveness of local law enforcement and community-driven security initiatives. Residents of Otago can take pride in their collective efforts to maintain a safe and secure region.

The rise in vehicle theft in New Zealand has become a growing concern, with various factors contributing to this worrying trend. Understanding these contributing elements is crucial in the ongoing effort to combat vehicle theft and ensure the safety and security of personal property in New Zealand.

Here are the five major factors that contribute to vehicle theft in New Zealand:

  • Urbanisation: Higher population density in urban areas provides more opportunities for vehicle theft.
  • Limited Public Transport: Areas with inadequate public transport may see an increase in vehicle theft as people rely on personal vehicles.
  • Lack of Security  Measures: Areas with limited security surveillance can be more susceptible to vehicle theft.
  • Recreational Use: Some vehicle thefts occur for joyriding or temporary use.
  • Lack of Security  Measures: Failure to use anti-theft devices or lock vehicles can contribute to theft rates.
5 Factors that contribute to vehicle theft in new zealand


It’s important to remember that vehicle theft can occur in any area, and these rankings do not necessarily indicate that a region is entirely unsafe. Factors such as population density, economic activity, and local law enforcement efforts can influence these statistics.

However, residents and authorities in these areas must remain vigilant and proactive in implementing effective preventive measures to reduce the risk of vehicle theft. Community awareness and cooperation, alongside law enforcement initiatives, can help address this concern and make these regions even safer for residents and visitors alike.

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