Police warn drivers of keyless car theft rise due to ‘weaknesses in electronic security’

Hampton: Thieves use aerial to steal keyless car in 30 seconds

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Provisional figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) show a 3.1 percent increase between May 2021 and June 2021 in vehicle crime. Luxury cars brands like Audi, BMW, Tesla and Land Rover are some of the main targets for thieves.

Keyless thefts now account for just under half of all “theft of” vehicle claims, despite only one in 100 cars having a keyless entry system.

According to the NPCC, organised crime gangs are using relay technology to receive the shorth-range signal from a key inside a house and transfer it to a portable device.

If the signal is recognised, the car doors unlock automatically or will with a press of a button, allowing them to steal the car.

Most of these crimes take place at night to ensure that no one can notice what the thieves are doing.

Research from LV= General Insurance showed that vehicle theft claims in London alone had increased by 265 percent since 2016.

In addition, Birmingham, Nottingham and Greater Manchester had seen individual increases of over 100 percent.

Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Sims, the NPCC’s lead for vehicle crime, commented on the seriousness of the crime.

She said: “Whilst the rapid development of technology has dramatically improved the experience of drivers it has also allowed criminals to exploit weaknesses in electronic security.


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“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.

“I would urge drivers to take simple steps to keep their vehicle safe like storing your keys in metal tins or protective pouches that block the devices criminals are using.

“A return to basics like making sure your car is locked is worthwhile too. We know from research that some owners think that cars automatically lock – they don’t.

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