Car crime, car theft, keyless theft; all on the increase according to a number of sources, including the Office for National Statistics, LV=General Insurance, and Tracker, a specialised car security company.
It’s easy to throw simple numbers around – the ONS (Office for National Statistics) tells us that just until March this year, there were 114,656 incidents of ‘theft or unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle’, that 8% more cars have been stolen in the last year, or that there has been over 800,000 instances of criminal damage to cars.
But while that gives a very broad overview, it doesn’t really impact. Tracker have some further insight; in 2018, around 88% of stolen vehicles fitted with one of their devices were stolen without the use of keys, up from 80% in 2017, and again from the 60% in 2016.
LV=General Insurance said that its claims data suggests a direct link between car thefts, and the rise of technology, in particular, smart devices.
A keyless entry or keyless start system seems like a great idea when you’re approaching your car with hands full, or when your key is buried at the bottom of a bag, or even when it’s just tucked in your pocket and your juggling a hundred different things. Certainly it will never revolutionise the world, but it does make it that little bit easier.
Unfortunately, not only does it make your life easier, but also the criminal’s looking to relieve you of your car. And truth be told, it’s simple for them to do so, with some off-the-shelf technology that can be bought for just a few pounds – this doesn’t require a contact book full of criminal masterminds, nor the investment of a large budget.
The reason why keyless theft is so popular, and so easy, is simple – there’s no need to enter the home of the keyholder, which lessens the charge should they be caught, and there’s minimal risk involved, aside from being close enough to the house to try and pick up the electronic signal from the key. It really is that easy.
Once the signal is located, it’s a matter of relaying the signal to the car and gaining entry or making off. Less than a minute, no aggravation, nothing physical, and no danger to the householder (unless they catch the criminal in the act). In most cases, the owner of the car won’t know anything about it until it’s too late.
Don’t be a statistic
Preventing car theft is always difficult, even more so if you’ve been targeted by a professional gang, but there are some simple steps that you can take, to help you becoming just another crime statistic.
A Faraday bag is a soft pouch that blocks any signals from the keyfob itself, which means the thieves won’t be able to track the signal and relay it to the car, no matter where the fob is located in the house.
Failing that, or while you wait on delivery of your Faraday bag, you should try and locate a safe spot for your fob, as far away from doors and windows as possible, the idea being to make it as difficult as possible for the thieves to locate the signal.
In the event that a thief does manage to gain entry to your vehicle, all is not lost; the use of steering wheels locks does tend to deter all but the most determined thieves, and in many cases, the visual deterrent alone is enough to send them elsewhere.
While it’s unlikely that an opportunistic car thief armed with a relay device is looking to break into your home, investing in some traditional security will help to prevent them should they take that route, and of course, give you some peace of mind.
We’ve teamed up with the leading security experts at ERA to offer you an unrivalled discount on a wide range of products, from plug-in alarms through to HD security cameras.
The discount codes are included on the website, remember to put them in at the checkout!
While you wouldn’t necessarily wish ill-fortune on your neighbours, the simplest course of action is to make your car look less desirable than another, or more trouble; the choice between getting through a steering lock and physical immobiliser, all the while being lit up like it’s daytime or finding another car is usually more than enough to make a thief think twice.
You’ll never stop professional thieves if they’re determined to have your car, but you can make life difficult for them, and hopefully your neighbour doesn’t feel the same.
Should more be done by the car industry to stop car thieves? Have you had a car stolen? How did the insurance claim go? Let us know in the comments.