Have you heard of keyless car theft? It is very much as it sounds – a vehicle being stolen without the use of the owner’s key. It’s done in a number of ways. Smashing a window and hotwiring, towing the vehicle, and more sophisticated methods used by organised criminals. For example, they can block the radio signals of an electronic key in order to gain entry and once inside plug in a device to download the vehicle’s information onto blank key. This allows them to use the key to drive away. It takes mere seconds! It is believed that the majority of keyless car thefts are by organised criminal gangs, due to the sophisticated technology required. The Organised Vehicle Crime Unit (OVCU) are carrying out regular operations in and around London and the Home Counties. They are also working with the motor industry to design ways to make keyless car thefts impossible in the future. (source, met police website).
The keyless technology was originally developed to only enable the holder of the keyfob entry to the car. However, academic researchers were able to intercept signals between the chip in the keyfob, and the car. And as technology develops, so do criminals – and they weren’t far behind the academics. But there are ways to stay safe and improve the security of your car.
If your vehicle does use an electronic key, there are steps you can take to ensure you protect your car:
- Fit a steering lock and/or gearstick lock. Give the criminals one extra hurdle. It may just put them off trying in the first place.
- Fit an alarm or immobiliser.
- Have an on-board diagnostics (OBD) lock fitted. This is the where the information about your car is stored.
For all cars:
- Try to park in well lit, open, secure areas wherever possible. If you have one, park it in a garage. And if there is CCTV nearby, park in view of it.
- Ensure windows, boot, sunroof are all locked before you leave the car.
- Get a tracker fitted, so that if your vehicle is stolen there is more chance of finding it.
For more safety tips, please get in touch 020 8340 0656.