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

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.

READ MORE: Lambeth tops chart of car theft crime as London dominates

“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.

The vehicles totalled more than £2.4 million and the criminals were jailed for a total of more than 30 years. 

Five people in Liverpool were sentenced to more than 23 years in prison after being convicted for a range of offences including the theft of keyless cars totalling around £2.6 million. 

Cheshire Constabulary also secured the conviction of a man for several car and key burglaries, and he was sentenced to more than seven years imprisonment last week.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “Technology sold as a convenience for drivers is becoming the best tool for car thieves.”

Although the police have issued a warning to drivers, the overall theft of, and from, motor vehicles was down by 21 percent in the latest ONS figures.


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