Car crime on the rise powered by technology
Police data reveals there has been a 30% increase in car thefts over the past three years, as thieves bypass modern vehicle security systems. This is a worrying trend at a time when the cost of motor insurance is already looking set to rise.
Many of us enjoy the convenience of keyless entry to our cars, with some cars not requiring the key to ever leave your pocket or bag. However, the technology which is designed to make our lives easier is actually contributing to the increased problem.
Steve Launchbury, of Thatcham Research, reported recently: “As the car is more digitally connected, obviously that opens it up to new types of criminality.
“When you have keyless-type vehicles where you physically just press a button and walk away, you’ve got the risk now of the signal being captured.”
Police recently released footage of one of the first “relay crimes” caught on CCTV. A relay crime is one where thieves steal vehicles without needing the keys. In the CCTV footage, two men in white suits and masks were seen pulling up outside a victim’s house carrying relay boxes.
They used one box to receive a signal from a car key inside the property and then transferred the signal to a second box next to the targeted Mercedes on a driveway. The car’s system was tricked into thinking the key was present and the thieves were able to unlock the vehicle.
The crime took less than a minute and the Mercedes has not yet been recovered.
How Can I protect myself?
The devices can receive signals through walls, doors and windows, but not metal. So one precaution is to keep your car key in a metal tin, another good idea is to invest in a traditional manual steering wheel lock.
For high value vehicles, tracking solutions can provide some peace of mind and help with vehicle recovery.
Speak to us about vehicle security and how your insurance is affected