Car thefts were down 20 per cent in the province of Milan last year compared with 2005, according to figures released by the ministry of the interior. The number of stolen cars decreased from over 25,000 in 2005 to about 21,000 in 2006.

The improvement is the result not only of better policing but also of improved cooperation and exchange of information about thefts within the European Union. In addition car parts are now better quality and last longer, which means the market for spare parts from stolen cars has fallen.

The downward trend was the same throughout the whole of the region of Lombardia, with total car thefts down 21 per cent from over 36,000 in 2005 to just under 28,000 in 2006.