Youngsters out for a joyride have been blamed for Orange's sky-high stolen car rate, with the city popping up on 'the wrong end' of the national leaderboard. Figures put together by insurance company Budget Direct placed Orange as the city with the 21st most stolen cars for 2021 in Australia, but with a higher rate per 1000 registered vehicles (2.4 and 111 total) than nearly half of those above it on the list. The stats tell the same story when talking about crimes where belongings have been stolen from motor vehicles, with 281 incidents reported in 2021 at a rate of 6.1 per 1000. But as bad as this may seem, Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research executive director Jackie Fitzgerald said it could get worse even still. "You're certainly at the wrong end of that list," she said. "In general and in a lot of places, car theft did fall in the pandemic and that did fall in Orange where numbers were low in 2020 and 2021. "What we're seeing in some communities and Orange seems to be one, is a rebounding of those car theft volumes. Some communities are starting to recover and some faster than others. Orange is one of those where it's starting to get up to those levels of car theft we were seeing before the pandemic." Ms Fitzgerald said that according to NSW Police data, there were 168 stolen cars reported in 2018 and 152 in 2022 for Orange, although there were a "few years" prior to 2019 where the number sat closer to 100. "There was an interruption based on the pandemic and we're seeing a return to more normal behaviour and unfortunately that sometimes means a more normal level of crime," she added. So what is driving this high crime rate in Orange? Well, Ms Fitzgerald said that a lot of the car thefts were being done by those on the younger side of things. "It's hard to say specifically what's driving the crime rate in Orange, but I can see that a lot of the offences in the last year, did seem to be committed by young people," she said. "In terms of the people who were proceeded against, we've got many more young people than adults. That looks to be one of the factors in car thefts in the Orange area." Some alleged offenders are proceeded against but diverted from the criminal court system. In areas where cars were being burnt out more regularly, she said it further indicated the reasoning behind the thefts. "There's different reasons why people steal cars, obviously. People steal them for transport, they steal them for joyriding, sometimes they steal them to onsell them or parts. There's different categories of car thefts," Ms Fitzgerald said. "Across the board, about a third of cars that are stolen are recovered, which suggests it's a joyriding or a transport motivation. "If people are burning those cars out, they're certainly not after the cars as goods, it's probably more in the joyriding category." NSW had 1.8 thefts per 1,000 vehicles in the state, and a total of 10,473 cars reported stolen in 2021. The top five cities in Australia for total number of stolen cars in 2021 according to Budget Direct were all in Queensland, with Brisbane (3623), Gold Coast (2591), Townsville (1118), Cairns (936) and Toowoomba (657) rising above the rest. In NSW, the top five cities were Newcastle (492), Woolongong (351), Sydney (198), Coffs Harbour (167) and Maitland (142). Reading this on mobile web? Download our news app. It's faster, easier to read and we'll send you alerts for breaking news as it happens. Download in the Apple Store or Google Play.