Provisional figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) show there has been a 3.1% increase in vehicle crime between May and June this year, the ‘bulk’ of which is down to keyless car theft.
This type of theft involves using a device to boost the signal from a car key to trick the vehicle into thinking it is close by, unlocking the car. Criminals hope that the keys are left close to the front door so that their devices can pick up the key’s signal and boost it.
National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for vehicle crime, assistant chief constable Jenny Sims, said: “Car theft is a serious crime that causes significant distress and upset to owners and police are putting considerable resources into tackling it and bringing those responsible to justice.
“Whilst the rapid development of technology has dramatically improved the experience of drivers it has also allowed criminals to exploit weaknesses in electronic security.
“We are working closely with car manufacturers to help them design out crime by sharing intelligence and equipment seized from criminals. We are already making substantial progress in this regard.
Despite this recent increase, the NPCC points to official figures showing that overall theft of, and from, motor vehicles is down 21%.
PC Craig Trevor is the lead investigator for keyless thefts for Cambridgeshire Constabulary, and during a webinar back in October he offered advice on keeping vehicles safe.
He said: “Every modern-day car is a computer. Thieves have got sophisticated scanning equipment that they are using to steal these expensive cars.
“The key element is them getting hold of your keyfob. Make sure it’s securely placed and away from the car, doors and windows.
“Use car key signal blocker cases or sleeves, or an aluminium tin at home. Find a safe place for your keys at home and check to ensure they are out of range.”