South Yorkshire Police
Designing out Crime Officer Jack Regan offers this advice to combat keyless car theft.
Keyless car theft, or relay theft, is a crime that’s is becoming one of the most common methods of stealing cars or stealing items from your car. Thieves use electronic devices to amplify your key’s signal and open the locks on your car.
Below are some basic tips and more advanced techniques to combat these thefts and keep your car safe.
1. Make sure your car is properly locked. When you get out of your car, walk around it and check that every door is locked. It’s also a good idea to make sure the boot is locked and ensure that all of your car’s windows are fully closed and never leave anything valuable on display, or in the glove compartment.
2. Store your keys in a secure location in your home. Most people tend to put their keys right next to their front door. This will only make you more susceptible to keyless car theft. Thieves can amplify your key’s signal from your front door and unlock your car.
The best place to put your keys is as far away from your vehicle as possible. Ideally, in a tin or aluminium container as this will block signals. Hide your spare keys in a different but equally secure location. Despite social media or public opinion, I would advise not to leave keys in the fridge or microwave as this may damage the key and is unlikely to be effective.
3. Purchase a key signal blocking case to prevent thieves from amplifying its signal. These are known as faraday pouches. These cases will block your key’s signal so thieves cannot use it to unlock your car. Place your keys in the pouch when you’re not using your vehicle.
You can buy these cases online from as little as £5. There are many different pouches on the market and I would test the pouch works properly by putting the key in it and ensuring the car doesn’t unlock when you stand next to it.
4. Park your car in your garage if you can. If your car is parked in your garage, criminals are less likely to see it and identify it as an item to steal. Make sure your garage is secure if you do store your car in there.
5. Physical barriers, you could also purchase an aftermarket security device such as a steering wheel lock, a driveway parking post, or even a wheel clamp. Even if the thieves are able to access and start your car, these should prevent them from driving away, many criminals will be put off by these..
6. Check your car’s manual to see if you can turn the key off. Disabling the key prevents the thieves amplify the key’s signal. If you can’t find your manual, ask at the dealership or look online to find out if your key can be switched off.
7. Update your car’s software manufactures will bring out security updates every so often to make a car more safe and secure. Check once a month to see if there are any new software updates for your car. Navigate the menus on the dashboard screen to look for the update option. You can usually find update information in the “settings” panel.
8. Install a secondary car immobiliser in your car for extra protection. Secondary immobilisers have a wide range of capabilities. Immobilisation systems are now designed to combat keyless entry car crime preventing your car’s engine from starting unless you input the unique, personalised code sequence you have chosen.
9. Use a tracking device to track the location of your car in case it does get stolen. GPS tracking devices let you and the police find out the precise location of your car. Stolen cars have a much higher chance of being recovered when fitted with a tracking device.
10. Consider fitting home CCTV. Please speak to your neighbours first and insure it is fitted to the required CCTV standards. Domestic CCTV systems