Car Crime: Auckland’s Worst Suburbs

What are Auckland’s worst areas for car crime, and what cars do thieves target? Canstar reveals the suburbs and makes of cars most targeted by criminals.

Unfortunately, it’s a sinking feeling that too many Aucklanders experience. You return to your car to find a door open or a window smashed and the glove compartment open and your possessions gone. Or, worse still, your car isn’t where you left it. You look around, questioning yourself: “Did I park it elsewhere?” Before the reality hits. You are the victim of car crime.

Fortunately, few car crimes lead to physical harm. But they are a major, often expensive hassle. Cars and possessions have to be replaced. Or you have to cover the cost of your excess to fix broken windows or locks.

So far this year, due to lockdown, car crime numbers are down on previous years. But still, in the first five months of the year, hundreds of incidents were reported to Auckland police. But, this isn’t something that should keep you awake at night. When you look at the figures across the city, there are patterns to Auckland’s car crime that can help you avoid becoming a victim.

Auckland’s worst suburbs for car crime

Coming in at No.1 on the worst place to park your car in Auckland is Maungawhau, with 78 instances of car crime (break-ins/theft) from January 1, to the end of May, 2020, according to police statistics.

This area around Mount Eden’s volcanic cone is a perennial hotspot for car crime. Visitors park, leave for a gentle stroll up the picturesque landmark, only to return to find somebody has broken into their car.

Unfortunately, parked cars attract criminals – a fact borne out by other crime hotspots in our top 13 list:

No. Reported Car Crimes Area/s
78 Maungawhau
58 Manukau
49 Auckland Central
47 One Tree Hill (Cornwall Park and surrounds)
38 Mt Wellington (17 in Domain)
37 Redoubt (near Rainbow’s End) / Mount Eden
35 Henderson
33 Papatoetoe
32 Takanini
30 Parnell
29 Mangere
27 Papakura

As we’ve highlighted above, One Tree Hill and the area around Rainbow’s End are also notorious areas for car crime, and 17 of the break-ins in Mt Wellington were cars parked in the Domain. Just outside our table, LynnMall – NZ’s first shopping centre – is also a favourite place for criminals to strike, with 22 reported incidents in the first five months of this year.

Although the above numbers are down on previous years’ figures, due to COVID-19, they are still representative of the main areas where car crime occurs.

Of course, if you’re a criminal looking to break into cars, you are going to target places where there are lots of unattended automobiles, and where your presence isn’t going to attract too much attention: think busy car parks. But while the average motorist can’t avoid parking in such places, there are steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of car crime:

  • Always ensure your car is locked
  • Try to park in a busy area, with surveillance cameras if possible
  • Park in a secure garage overnight, instead of on the street
  • Don’t leave valuables in your car
  • Don’t leave worthless items in your car that could attract thieves – for example, an empty bag or briefcase

Your choice of car, too, can play an important part in whether it’s targeted by thieves.

Cars most targeted by thieves

Over the first six months of the year, to mid-July, there were just over 300 cars, motorbikes, trucks, trailers and utes stolen in Auckland:

No. Thefts Type of vehicle
5 Boat Trailers
16 Utes
30 Trailers
38 Mopeds
43 Motorbikes
45 Hatchbacks
45 Saloons
76 Station Wagons

Of those, the top ten makes of cars stolen were:

  1. Toyota (43 stolen)
  2. Nissan (31 stolen)
  3. Mazda (25 stolen)
  4. Suzuki (22 stolen)
  5. Honda (15 stolen)
  6. Ford (12 stolen)
  7. Subaru (10 stolen)
  8. BMW (9 stolen)
  9. Holden (8 stolen)
  10. Mitsubishi (7 stolen)

So far this year, the top makes and models targeted by thieves are:

  • Subaru: Legacy (6 stolen)
  • Mazda: Atenz & Demio (5 of each stolen)
  • Nissan: Terrano & Navara (4 of each stolen)
  • Suziki: Swift (4 of each stolen)
  • Toyota: Prius, Landcruiser, Hilux (4 of each stolen)

However, one thing links all the car thefts: the age of the cars taken. Pretty much all of them were pre-2010 models, and only two were recent 2018+ models. What this says about the nature of car crime is that new cars with sophisticated security systems are a lot harder to steal, and therefore less of a target for young joyriders.


Whatever make or model of car you drive, wherever you live, work or park your car, there is always the risk of accident or theft. That’s why it’s so important to ensure you’ve the right level of cover at the right cost.

And this is where Canstar can help. Each year we score and rate customer satisfaction levels across all the major insurance companies. Categories rated include Overall Satisfaction, Value for Money and Quality of Service. You can see an abridged version of our latest awards below. Or if you’d like to know more, just click on the big button at the bottom of the page.

Compare car insurance providers for free with Canstar!

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