Locksafe is your local and friendly locksmith based in Liverpool. One of our most popular services is our 24-hour emergency locksmith service. We invite customers to call us any time of the day with their locksmith requirements. No matter what it is, we are there for you. But, we have come to realise from our valued and loyal customers that people are concerned, as there is growing car theft of the so-called “keyless cars”
So, we thought we would like to help! You may well wonder why we are trying to advise in this arena, if our speciality locks, but, with growing numbers of cars being stolen via keyless theft, we looked at the steps you can take to keep your car safe – because, we believe that if we help our customers, they will once again realise our commitment and dedication to keep them safe 24 hours a day! So here is what we found out about, what it is and the best ways to avoid it, hope it helps!
Recent years have seen a spike in vehicle theft, with the last five years witnessing a 48.7 per cent increase in the number of cars being stolen. Experts have linked this trend to falling police officer numbers, and the rising popularity of keyless entry and go systems. Research by a German motoring organisation, for example, tested the keyless systems of 237 different cars, and found only three were able to completely fend off a keyless attack,
But what exactly is keyless theft, how is the industry working against it, and what can you do to protect yourself against it?
What is keyless theft?
The process criminals use to steal a car via keyless theft – also known as relay theft – is relatively simple. First, they buy a relay amplifier and a relay transmitter; these electronic gizmos can be purchased from the darker corners of the internet.
Next, they identify a house with a nice car parked outside and, by using these gadgets, can detect whether the car features keyless entry and go.
Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer at Thatcham Research, the UK insurance industry’s research body said, “Our calculations suggest that one per cent of all cars on the road today have keyless entry systems, but this technology is trickling down from the premium sector to more affordable cars,” Billyeald said. “Until recently, all keyless systems used the exact same technology, so they were all vulnerable.”
How to avoid keyless theft – top 5 tips
Keyless theft sounds almost like the perfect crime – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to stop it from happening to you. We spoke to some of the industry’s leading security experts to find out what you can do.
1. Don’t forget the basics
Owners shouldn’t forget to take standard security measures, ensuring their car is properly locked and keep 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. Barrs also says owners can keep their car keys in a metal tin to block signals. Ensure your vehicle is parked in a well-lit or secure area, properly locked and all valuables are removed. Once in your home or office, ensure your car keys are as far away from doors and windows as possible, preferably shut inside a drawer.
2. Can you switch off your key?
Richard Billyeald advises owners to investigate whether it’s possible to switch their key’s signal off, as some offer this function – though it’s not always obvious, requiring a double button press or a combination of pushes on the key. Check your manual to find out if your key has this function, or ask your dealer if the system can be disabled.
3. Signal-blocking Faraday pouches
Don’t assume that wrapping your key in foil will do a good enough job. It isn’t designed for this purpose. As keyless car crime has spiked, several anti-theft pouches have hit the market that is designed to block signals emitted by the key. The idea is simple – keep your key inside the Faraday pouch when not in use, and special material will prevent a relay amplifier from picking up its unique signal and transmitting it. We’d recommend only buying these from a reputable outlet, however, and looking for reviews and accreditation to ensure it will work.
4. Physical security measures
As criminals turn to technology, many owners are resorting to low-tech physical security devices like steering wheel locks and driveways with locked gates or barriers. Make life difficult for thieves in this way and even if they can unlock the car, hopefully, they won’t be able to drive away in it. Many criminals will also move on to an easier target when faced with extra security that’s time-consuming and noisy to defeat.
5. Tracking devices
It’s possible to subscribe to a security company like Tracker, which can fit a tracking device to your car and use it to trace its location if it’s stolen. According to the company, 96% of cars fitted with its technology are recovered when stolen, compared with just 50% in other cases.
We really hope this information and advice will help ease your mind and remind you once again that Locksafe is here to help 24 hours a day…