As automotive technology becomes ever more advanced in its capabilities, we assume we’ll be better protected from car theft. Surely that’s the point in developing new security features, after all. But according to Office of National Statistics, 2017 saw car theft figures rocket in England and Wales – up to 89,000 cases– an alarming 56% increase from the previous year.
So why the sudden spike? Security experts seem to think keyless theft, or relay theft as it’s otherwise known, could be responsible. And the most worrying thing is, the process is relatively simple for tech-savvy criminals.
Once a particular vehicle has been chosen, a team of two criminals can work together using widely available signal relay devices to ‘trick’ the car into thinking the correct key is present by amplifying its signal. And as soon as the thieves get access, all it takes is a touch of a button to start the engine and drive away.
But while the simplicity of accessing your car can seem alarming, there are things you can do to help prevent it being stolen. Here are some of our top tips:
A Faraday bag is a simple but highly effective way of stopping thieves amplifying your key’s signal. This handy pouch is lined with a conductive fabric mesh, which stops your car key fob’s digital signals hitting the outside world once placed inside. These are widely available online for around £10 and are a definite must-have in the defence against relay theft.
It may seem like an obvious one, but keeping your key fob (and the signal potential thieves want to amplify) away from doors and windows will make the process much tougher for them. So find a suitable spot, perhaps a kitchen drawer or the like, to store your fob away.
While perhaps seen as a bit ‘old hat’ in today’s technology driven world, the right steering wheel lock is still a highly effective last line of defence. Choosing a brightly-coloured, good quality lock should be enough to make thieves think twice. The Stoplock Pro is highly rated by many and is available from around £30.
If your prevention methods haven’t been enough to stop thieves getting away with your car, the next best thing is to find out where they’ve taken it. Trackerfit offer a wide range of devices for all kinds of vehicles – helping you locate the vehicle quickly and easily if the worst should happen.
Having the right car insurance is perhaps the most important security measure of them all – especially in light of the worrying new car theft figures. So here at LV=, we’ve been working hard to make sure our cover protects you against this new type of car crime. Brian Hodge, Director of Motor Customer Claims at LV= said: “While the latest figures on relay theft are worrying, our customers can have peace of mind knowing they’re covered against it."
"We’d definitely recommend the use of Faraday bags and other traditional types of car security for prevention, though. Some thieves will be willing to go to extreme lengths to get access to a vehicle, so it’s important to protect yourself as much as possible.”