Money raised from speed cameras should be spent on more traffic police, says driving group the RAC Foundation.
Drivers caught speeding on camera are liable for hefty fines
It says the UK still has the most car crime in Europe, costing £3.5bn a year and affecting 2.5 million people.
Criminals were not being caught because cameras were increasingly replacing traffic police, said the group's Executive Director Edmund King.
"There should be an absolute increase in the number of police devoted to traffic and road safety work," he said.
Mr King said the crime statistics were "shocking", considering all new cars were fitted with immobilisers and 45%
fitted with alarms.
"As new cars become more secure thieves target car keys or older vehicles.
"The real answer is more resources to allow police forces to tackle the
problems," he said.
CAR CRIME IN THE UK
75% of vehicle crime offenders have convictions for other types of
73% of vehicle crime offenders have tested positive for illegal drugs
Car tax evasion costs £193m a year
25% of motorcycles are untaxed, and 2.1m vehicles have no registered keeper
Source: RAC Foundation
"Millions of pounds are being generated by remote enforcement technology and
some of this should be spent on traffic police rather than more cameras.
"Police should not be diverted from crime or terrorism but there
should be an absolute increase in the number of police devoted to traffic and
road safety work.
"If the objective of the cameras is to improve road safety, the rest of the
revenue should go into improving dangerous roads."
'Making safety worse'
Controversy has been raging in recent weeks over whether speed cameras actually make roads safer.
Some campaigners suspect police forces - who since 2001 have been able to keep revenue from speed cameras - have used them to make money, rather than in a serious attempt to tackle road safety.
On Sunday Durham chief constable Paul Garvin said he had refused to install speed cameras because they did not work.
He told the Sunday Telegraph accidents were almost always caused by other factors, especially drink-driving or drug-driving.
Instead of installing speed cameras, he has embarked on an intensive education campaign among youths and those involved in accidents - and claims Durham has 34% fewer road accidents than the national average.
A motoring group argued last week that speed cameras had actually made road safety worse.
The Association of British Drivers said cameras meant only the issue of speeding was addressed, while other offences were going unnoticed or unpunished.
It added that most cameras were on major A roads, while drivers felt free to speed through schools and villages.
But road safety charity Brake insisted there had been a 36% reduction in casualties at spots where speed cameras were sited.