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Keyless Car Thefts

Keyless Car Thefts

What is keyless vehicle theft?

Keyless vehicle theft involves motor vehicles being stolen without the use of the owner’s key i.e. towing the vehicle away or hot-wiring it.

A worrying number of electronically-controlled vehicles are being taken by organised criminals exploiting the electronics in the vehicle. The thief will use signal jammers to stop you from locking the vehicle properly or will smash the window and, once inside, they plug a device into the onboard diagnostic port (OBD) which allows them to download the vehicle’s electronic information onto a blank key. This key is then compatible with the car, allowing them to drive the vehicle away. This process can take just seconds!

Who does it affect?

Vehicles being stolen by this method range from high-value cars to commercial vans; which have the additional bonus for thieves as they often contain valuable tools.

In London last year more than 6,000 cars and vans were stolen using the technique – around 42% of all vehicle thefts. However, not only London has been affected by this method of vehicle theft. In Brighton, numerous luxury Range Rovers were stolen within the space of a few months by using keyless methods.

It seems that these organised gangs have no preference over the area they choose to steal from as they are willing to target ANYONE!

How can you protect your vehicle?

There are a number of measures you can take to protect your car from this type of theft:

  • Park your vehicle in an open, well-lit and secure area (when possible). Always park it in a garage, if you have one, or in view of CCTV cameras.
  • Ensure that all windows, the sunroof and boot are shut and locked when leaving your vehicle unattended, no matter how briefly.
  • Fit an alarm or immobiliser (call us on 01173 790 279 for a quote).
  • Use a steering wheel lock and/or gearstick lock.
  • Consider having an onboard diagnostics (OBD) lock fitted.
  • Your vehicle is more likely to be recovered if you have a tracker fitted.

Tips provided found via the Metropoliton Police website.

What’s being done about keyless vehicle theft?

A number of initiatives have been launched throughout the UK to try to tackle keyless car thefts. The most notable is in London where the Met Police have launched ‘Operation Endeavor’ in a bid to crack down on this type of crime. Read more about this operation.

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