Car theft has increased by nearly 50% and thieves are making child’s play of cars with keyless ignition.
Keyless entry and the “push to start” feature are things that most of us enjoy having in our motors, but it looks like car thieves are enjoying them too! Car theft has increased considerably over the past 5 years and many believe that this is partly down to the increase in keyless entry. Although theft rates are nothing compared to what they were 20 years ago, they’ve been showing signs of growth recently and it’s time we get wise to it.
Thieves can unlock and start your car with a press of a button
Stealing cars has never been easier thanks to keyless entry and keyless ignition. All it takes is a simple relay tool and a transmitter. The purpose of these tools is to boost the radio signal that your car keys are emitting to fool your car into thinking that the keys are within proximity of the car, which will then unlock the car and allow it to start.
If you’re familiar with WiFi signal boosters that boost internet signals in your house, the concept is much the same. One thief will stand by your front door holding a device shaped like a large tablet, made to capture your key fob’s signal and boost it. The second culprit will stand by your car with the device that mimics your car’s key fob which will then pick up the boosted signal and unlock the car and start it. All of this can easily be done in under a minute and is quieter and generally easier to do compared to traditional lock picking.
Car theft is on the rise
Statistics from the Home Office say that 75,308 cars were reported stolen during the financial year of 2013-14 (ending April). That figure rose to 111,999 in the financial year of 2017-18. That’s an increase of over 35,500 stolen cars and equates to an increase of roughly 49%. In just 4 years, these figures have risen by nearly 50%, and there are other stats that suggest a similar pattern.
According to the RAC, just under 86,000 cars were reported stolen in 2016 compared to roughly 66,000 in 2013. That’s a 30% increase in just 3 years. These figures were collected from 40 police forces in England and Wales.
The bad news doesn’t end there either, because research from Auto Express found that less than half of all stolen vehicles in the UK are recovered. So if you’re one of the few unlucky victims, you’ve got less than a 50/50 chance of getting your motor back!
Yet, shockingly (and hilariously), Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said this:
“New cars have never been more secure and the latest technology has helped bring down vehicle theft dramatically. Manufacturers invest billions of pounds every year to stay one step ahead of the criminals, and the latest models include sophisticated immobilisers, smartphone-controlled tracking devices and random key codes to prevent cloning. Technology can only do so much, however, and while car makers, the police and government continue to work together to ensure that stealing cars is as difficult as possible, these latest figures show there’s more consumers can do to minimise risk.”
This quote was taken sometime in 2016 so we’re not quite sure why he said this as vehicle theft has been back on the rise since 2014. Although Mr Hawes is right about one thing. Consumers can do more to minimise risk…
How to make sure your car is safe and minimise risk
Minimising risk is easy and cheap to do and we’re here to offer some tips. Tip number one is to store your car keys in a signal-blocking “faraday” pouch which blocks the signal constantly being emitted from your car’s key fob. These pouches can be bought online for under £10 or to the same effect, you can cover the interior of a box or pouch in aluminium foil and place your keys inside when you get home. This will mean the thieves will be unable to pick up the signal.
Another simple way of making the signal harder to find is to not leave your keys near a window or exterior wall. If they’re placed deeper inside the house, the signal will be harder to hijack.
Other ways to deter thieves include using a wheel lock, having a car cover, parking in a garage, having driveway bollards installed or just simply not own a car with keyless ignition and entry. Those looking to steal a car are looking for easy targets and all it takes is something as little as a wheel lock to make them turn the other way and search for an easier target.
We hope our tips and information help you keep your motor safe! Make sure to sign up to our email list to stay up to date with all of our news, stories and entertainment.
Research Credit: Auto Express
For more articles like this, receive our weekly e-newsletter, including partner deals and all things motoring, register your email below.