Police data shows vandalism has risen most in Greater Manchester.

Vehicle vandalism in England and Wales has risen by 10 percent in the past three years, according to recently released police data.

A Freedom of Information request from RAC Insurance found that around 210,500 vehicles suffered criminal damage in 2016 – an increase of almost 20,000 on the number vandalised in 2013.

According to the data, 24 of England and Wales’ police forces saw vehicle vandalism increase, while just 12 forces recorded a fall in criminal damage.

The highest increase was seen in Greater Manchester, where vandalism cases rose by 37 percent over the three-year period. London, however, recorded the highest number of cases, with its 26,064 incidents accounting for 12 percent of all vehicle vandalism cases in 2016.

In contrast, the largest reduction in incidents of vandalism was found in Gloucestershire, where criminal damage to cars fell by 17 percent to around 1,900 incidents in 2016. Statistically, though, cars were deemed safest in the Welsh region of Dyfed-Powys, where just 1,566 cases of vandalism were recorded.

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RAC Insurance Mark Godfrey, director of RAC Insurance, said: ‘Vandalism is one of the most frustrating and annoying crimes. Just a moment of selfish intentional criminal damage causes vehicle owners no end of grief.

‘In reality, the overall figure for the number of vehicles vandalised is probably far higher as many motorists may either fail to report it to the police or claim on insurance for fear of causing their next insurance premium to go up.’

Godfrey also offered advice to those concerned about the threat of vehicle vandalism.

‘Unfortunately, being the result of a very deliberate action, mindless stupidity, or drunkenness, there is very little motorists can do in terms of protecting their vehicles against vandalism,’ he said. ‘There are, however, a few basic precautions that can be taken to limit the chances of it happening.

‘During the day try to park in well used areas and at night go for well-lit streets away from pubs and clubs if at all possible, and if you have access to a garage use it. It’s also good advice to use car parks that carry the ‘Park Mark’ Safer Parking symbol which means there are measures in place to ensure the safety of people and vehicles.

‘Should you be unlucky enough to have your vehicle vandalised take pictures of it, report it to the police and get a crime reference number as this will help with any subsequent insurance claim.’