How to stop thieves stealing your car as thefts on rise

·5-min read
Thefts of motor vehicles in particular keyless vehicles have gone up in recent years.
Thefts of motor vehicles in particular keyless vehicles have gone up in recent years.

Thefts of motor vehicles have gone up in recent years with more and more cars being stolen from people's homes.

Nationally in 2021, the number of vehicles that were stolen was 48,400 according to Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) data, a rise of three per cent from 2020.

Police reported 48,400 vehicles as being stolen – up from 46,800 in 2020. The Ford Fiesta was the most commonly stolen model of car – with 3,909 examples being nicked – followed by the Range Rover (3,754) and the Ford Focus (1,912).

The fourth-most stolen car in 2021 was the Volkswagen Golf (1,755), after which came the Mercedes C-Class (1,474), BMW 3 Series (1,464), Land Rover Discovery (1,260), Vauxhall Corsa (1,218), Vauxhall Astra (1,096) and Mercedes E-Class (818).

As a result, keyless thefts are becoming more and more common.

How does the keyless theft work?

Keyless theft works when two criminals buy some relay amplifiers and relay transmitters needed to make the steal.

Then they will target any house that has an upmarket car such as a Range Rover or a Jaguar XJ.

Using their gadgets, they can detect whether or not the vehicle uses a keyless entry and start system.

Working in pairs, one thief will stand by the car with the transmitter while a second carries the amplifier around the perimeter of the house. If the key is close enough, the amplifier will be able to boost its signal and direct it to the transmitter.

The doors to the car will then be unlocked and the vehicle will be able to be used even though the owner hasn’t used the key to open the doors.

This transmitter then effectively becomes the key, and tricks the car into thinking the real key is nearby, whereupon the thieves are able to open the car, get in and drive away.

The whole process can take as little as 60 seconds and can be completed in near silence and for safety reasons, the engine won't just cut out when the key is out of range, therefore there is very little to stop the thieves from stealing the car.

How can you protect your car from being stolen-top tips

Don’t forget the basics

Car owners shouldn’t forget to take standard security measures, such as ensuring their car is properly locked and keeping their keys far away from doors and windows.

This will minimise the chances a crook will be able to find and amplify the key’s signal and is generally good practice, as it’ll prevent thieves from easily breaking in and swiping them.

Owners of keyless can keep also keep their keys inside a Faraday pouch. These pouches contain signal-blocking materials that stop your key transmitting its code, preventing crooks from being able to detect and amplify the signal.

However, it is said that not every pouch works and caution should be taken when buying these items.

Can you switch off your key?

It is advisory to whether it’s possible to switch their key’s signal off, as some offer this function.

A double press of the key could switch off the signal.

Check your manual to find out if your key has this function, or ask your dealership, if it the system can be disabled.

Physical Barriers

An aftermarket security device such as a steering lock could be another way to prevent keyless theft.

Even if the thieves are able to access and start your car, these should prevent the criminals from driving away

Cars with tracking devices are more likely to be recovered than those without.

Vehicles fitted with tracking technology have a recovery rate of 96 per cent according to Tracker.

The odds are then reduced to 50 per cent for those without.

Therefore it is wise to fit your car with a tracking device.

Other steps you can take to keep your car safe include checking if there are any software updates for the car itself and remaining vigilant for unusual activity in your area.

Thefts of motor vehicles have gone up in recent years with more and more cars being nicked.

In 2021, the number of vehicles that were stolen was 48,400 according to Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) data, a rise of three per cent from 2020.

Police reported 48,400 vehicles as being stolen – up from 46,800 in 2020. The Ford Fiesta was the most commonly stolen model of car – with 3,909 examples being nicked – followed by the Range Rover (3,754) and the Ford Focus (1,912).

The fourth-most stolen car in 2021 was the Volkswagen Golf (1,755), after which came the Mercedes C-Class (1,474), BMW 3 Series (1,464), Land Rover Discovery (1,260), Vauxhall Corsa (1,218), Vauxhall Astra (1,096) and Mercedes E-Class (818).

As a result, keyless thefts are becoming more and more common.

How does keyless theft work?

Keyless theft works when two criminals buy some relay amplifiers and relay transmitters needed to make the steal.

Then they will target any house that has an upmarket car such as a Range Rover or a Jaguar XJ.

Using their gadgets, they can detect whether or not the vehicle uses a keyless entry and start system.

Working in pairs, one thief will stand by the car with the transmitter while a second carries the amplifier around the perimeter of the house. If the key is close enough, the amplifier will be able to boost its signal and direct it to the transmitter.

The doors to the car will then be unlocked and the vehicle will be able to be used even though the owner hasn’t used the key to open the doors.

This transmitter then effectively becomes the key, and tricks the car into thinking the real key is nearby, whereupon the thieves are able to open the car, get in and drive away.

The whole process can take as little as 60 seconds and can be completed in near silence and for safety reasons, the engine won't just cut out when the key is out of range, therefore there is very little to stop the thieves from stealing the car.

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