Vehicle crime

Vehicle crime is a highly organized criminal activity affecting all regions of the whole world and with clear links to organized crime and terrorism. Vehicles are not only stolen for their own sake, but are also trafficked to finance other crimes. They can also be used as bomb carriers or in the perpetration of other crimes.

Stolen Motor Vehicle Database

The INTERPOL Stolen Motor Vehicle (SMV) database is a vital tool in the fight against international vehicle theft and trafficking.

It allows police in our member countries to run a check against a suspicious vehicle and find out instantly whether it has been reported as stolen. An international database of this nature is crucial as vehicles are often trafficked across national borders, sometimes ending up thousands of miles away from the location where they were stolen.

In 2014, around 132,000 motor vehicles worldwide were identified as stolen, thanks to the SMV database. By the end of the year, the number of database records had risen to more than 6.8 million.

Global initiatives

At INTERPOL, we have set up a number of working groups, bringing together experts from across the world. These working groups have developed a range of projects focusing on specific issues, for example:

  • Delivering training (Project Formatrain)
  • Working with car manufacturers (Project INVEX)
  • Supporting operations (SMV Task Force)

At the end of 2013 we held a Global Conference on Vehicle Crime, bringing together the law enforcement community, international organizations and the private sector in order to share expertise and best practices.

Analytical report 

This report presents an analytical overview of vehicle crime in a global perspective. The findings are based on a joint initiative with Europol in which information was submitted by more than 50 member countries. The report will serve as a starting point for future in-depth analysis of the different aspects of international car trafficking.

05 May 2015

INTERPOL supports UK operation targeting criminal networks behind vehicle crime

UNITED KINGDOM – An INTERPOL-supported operation in the UK targeting vehicle crime has highlighted the issue of transnational criminal networks trafficking stolen vehicles out of the country.The two-day (28 and 29 April) Operation Britcar was led by the UK National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service (NaVCIS) and supported by the INTERPOL Stolen Motor Vehi...
15 October 2014

Hundreds of stolen vehicles recovered in Europe-wide operation supported by INTERPOL

An Europe-wide operation targeting vehicle crime has so far led to the recovery of 323 stolen vehicles worth more than EUR 5 million and 469 arrests.More than 375,000 checks were carried out during the three-day (7 – 9 October) joint police operation ITACAR led by Italy and supported by INTERPOL’s dedicated Stolen Motor Vehicle (SMV) task force, Switzerla...
27 September 2014

Moldova celebrates 20th anniversary as INTERPOL member country

CHISINAU, Moldova – Secretary General Ronald K. Noble has underlined Moldova’s commitment to INTERPOL and the wider law enforcement community as the country marked the 20th anniversary of its membership of the world police body.At a meeting with Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca, the INTERPOL Chief said the country was at ‘the forefront’ of internation...
04 August 2014

INTERPOL supports operation to put the brakes on stolen vehicle trafficking

ALGECIRAS, Spain – In an INTERPOL-supported operation in Spain targeting the trafficking of stolen vehicles, nearly 20 vehicles were recovered and some 15 individuals arrested. Led by the Spanish National Police, Operation Paso del Estrecho (which means ‘crossing the straits’), was conducted from 28 July to 1 August at the port of Algeciras in southe...
15 June 2014

Ducati Team on track in support of Turn Back Crime campaign

BARCELONA, Spain – The Turn Back Crime campaign is racing ahead as the Ducati Team add their support to INTERPOL’s efforts to tackle a wide range of crimes, including counterfeiting and motor vehicle crimeAt today’s GP of Catalunya, taking place at the Montmeló circuit near Barcelona, the Ducati Team will be revving up INTERPOL’s campaign to raise awarene...
26 November 2013

Combating the criminal networks behind vehicle crime focus of INTERPOL conference

LYON, France – Experts from law enforcement and the private sector have gathered at INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters to discuss ways to effectively combat the growing problem of vehicle crime.The three-day INTERPOL Global Conference on Vehicle Crime (26-28 November) brings together nearly 200 participants from 55 countries, 40 private entities...
08 August 2012

INTERPOL operation leads to arrest of mastermind of multimillion Euro car smuggling ring

LYON, France – The suspected mastermind behind a global car smuggling ring, estimated to have trafficked luxury and sports vehicles worth around EUR 6 million since 2009, has been arrested following an INTERPOL-coordinated operation.The Russian national was taken into custody in Venice, Italy following INTERPOL’s Operation Eastbound which coordinated the...
26 March 2012

INTERPOL holds first South American conference on stolen vehicle crime

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – More than  50 officials representing law enforcement agencies, law courts, customs, vehicle registration offices, insurance companies and non-governmental associations from 10 different countries from the Americas have concluded INTERPOL’s first vehicle theft and trafficking conference for South America at the INTERPOL Bueno...
21 October 2011

Safeguarding the world’s cultural heritage focus of INTERPOL symposium

LYON, France - The protection of cultural goods in crisis situations and the need for enhanced security at archaeological sites were key issues during the 8th International Symposium on the Theft of and Illicit Traffic in Works of Art, Cultural Property and Antiques.The three-day meeting (18-20 October), co-sponsored by Switzerland, saw nearly 140 special...
19 October 2010

Illegal immigration and fraud suspects arrested in INTERPOL operation targeting stolen vehicles

A three-day INTERPOL co-ordinated operation to identify stolen vehicles has resulted in a series of arrests for a range of offences including illegal immigration, possession of false documents and suspected credit card fraud.Operating under the umbrella of INTERPOL’s taskforce on Stolen Motor Vehicles (SMV), more than 700 vehicles were checked as part of...