Keyless car theft surge prompts police warning
We are issuing a warning to all owners of vehicles which can be unlocked and started by using a keyless fob.
The warning comes after a significant increase in this type of theft, especially among Mercedes owners, as the force has recorded 15 Mercedes thefts in past eight weeks.
Keyless car theft happens when an offender uses a special device to capture the signal from a fob located inside a house, and transmits it to someone else near the car, tricking the car’s computer into opening the doors and starting the engine.
This can be done if the fob, or spare set, is located close to windows and doors, as the thieves only need to be within a few metres of the transmitter can find and enhance its signal.
That’s why it is important to be careful where you keep your keys and vehicle overnight, or when you are not home.
To reduce the risk of becoming keyless car theft victim follow these simple steps:
- Consider fitting CCTV or doorbell sensor cameras and lighting
- Keep your car keys and spare set in a signal blocking pouch or box, which can be purchased online or in a specialist motorist store
- Keep your keys away from windows and doors
- Consider turning off the keyless fob’s wireless signal
- Use additional safety measures like a car alarm and steering wheel lock
- If possible park, your car in a garage, a driveway, or in a well-lit area
- Fit your car with a tracker and etch index numbers on the windows
Additionally, Mercedes owners are advised to double press the lock button on the key, as this disables the keyless entry and start.
Detective Superintendent Duncan Young, head of the force’s dedicated burglary team, Operation Maze, said: “As the technology becomes more sophisticated criminals have to be more creative to find new ways to commit crimes.
“As the keyless cars become more popular and common we would like to make the public aware of this type of car theft.
“Because the offender doesn’t actually have to enter the victim’s house, and it can be done remotely from the vicinity of the property, the theft can go unnoticed until following morning. Therefore, it is important to create a distance between your key and your vehicle and make sure to keep it secure in a signal blocking pouch or box, or at the least, away from windows and doors.
“If you are an owner of a keyless vehicle please follow our advice to reduce your risk of becoming a victim this type of car theft.”
If you have information about this type of incident or notice any suspicious behaviour in your area, please contact the police by using the force’s online reporting centre https://www.bedfordshire.police.uk/report, or by calling 101. If a crime is in progress, call 999.
If you’ve been affected by crime you can also contact Signpost for free and confidential support, whether the crime has been reported to police or not. For further information or to get in contact, visit www.signpostforbedfordshire.com