Smash and grab insurance claims costs have leapt by a third according to the latest Autoglass car crime study.

The study, conducted among Autoglass customers in July this year, claimed that thefts from cars were up by 15% and the average cost per attack increased from £209 to £452 – hiking the cost to the industry from £288m to £386m.

“There is an illusion that we've beaten car crime,” said Autoglass managing director, Ian Carlisle. “But we haven't. Crooks are getting richer pickings and leaving empty handed on fewer occasions.”

The study shows thefts from cars have risen from 799,400 to 920,504; the most commonly stolen items are stereos (44%), bags (20%), CDs and tapes (17%) and clothes (14%).

Fifty one per cent of attacks occur while cars are parked in the street, with 31% in car parks.

To counter the rise, Autoglass has launched ‘Cracking Car Crime', a campaign linking motorists, insurers, companies and professional crime prevention bodies. Police chiefs believe this could slash the number of attacks by half.

The project has also been backed by Crime Concern.

Assistant Chief Constable George Pothcary, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: “If everyone spared a minute to run through a security checklist before they left their car, the impact would be colossal.”

One of the campaign's features is a one-minute guide to vehicle security.

Autoglass' figures for theft from vehicles are contradicted by the ABI.

The ABI reports a figure of £386m for theft of and from vehicles last year.

Autoglass claims that its figures are different to the ABI's because its customer survey included crimes that had not been reported to the police.