Car thefts: Block the break in!

Is your car at risk?

Did you know that a car is stolen every 8 minutes in the UK?

And that there were an eye-watering 130,521 motor vehicle thefts in England and Wales in 2022/2023?

The increase in keyless entry vehicle crime has contributed to record prices for car insurance. While ‘keyless technology’ can be seen a convenience for drivers, unfortunately it is all too convenient for thieves as well.  Car theft in England and Wales in the year to March 2023 was at its highest level for more than a decade.

The reality is that the industry was warned about this a decade ago, but as new cars roll off the production line fitted with the technology, it is only now that we’re seeing the results.


EXPOSING THE WORLD OF CAR THIEVES PT 2 #rangerover #svr #car #thief

♬ original sound – Frenchie

In fact, back in 2019, Richard Billyeald, CTO of Thatcham Research warned about the technology, and that certain vehicles were rated ‘poor’ in terms of security. At the time, he stated, “Security has come a long way since vehicle crime peaked in the early 1990s. But the layers of security added over the years count for nothing when they can be circumvented instantly by criminals using digital devices.” He wasn’t wrong.

2023’s most stolen cars

On average, 16 Fiestas were stolen every day last year, or one every 88 minutes!

  1. Ford Fiesta
  2. Ford Focus
  3. VW Golf
  4. Mercedes-Benz C-Class
  5. Range Rover Sport
  6. Range Rover Evoque
  7. BMW 3 Series
  8. Vauxhall Corsa
  9. Vauxhall Astra
  10. Land Rover Discovery Sport

Source: DVLA reported motor thefts 1st January to 31st December 2023.

While not all of these thefts are due to keyless entry, ‘relay theft’ has become the most common way to steal a vehicle.

According to Honest John, car thefts rocketed by 40% in the first six months of 2023. And Auto Express reports that from September 2021 to September 2023, the most stolen cars according to claims were Lexus (an astonishing 513% increase), Toyota (103% increase), Hyundai (81% increase) and Kia (76% increase).

Jaguar Land Rover has recently invested £10m in resolving the security issues on vehicles built between 2018 and 2022. Hyundai has also been vocal after it was discovered that a device known as an ‘emulator’ was being used to target Hyundai and Kia vehicles. In fact, in the USA, the ‘Kia challenge’ on TikTok saw both car giants agree to a $200 million settlement fund for the rash of social media encouraged break ins.

Do I have a keyless car?

The term can be deceptive: a keyless car isn’t necessarily the same as a remote entry car, nor does it mean you don’t require some sort of ‘key’.

Most cars are now remote entry, so the standard click to lock and unlock using a key fob of sorts. One of the biggest issues at present is the ability to open your car door and start it without clicking a button on a key fob. It is this type of vehicle that is at risk of ‘relay theft’.

Keyless car entry systems let drivers open and start their cars without taking their key out of their pocket. The easiest way to test if your car has keyless entry is to lock your car and place the key fob a few metres away. Then try to open the drivers door. Your car door should remain locked. Then, pick up the key fob and stand next to the door and try again – if the car unlocks you know you have keyless entry and will need to take extra precautions.

  • One thief will wave a ‘relay box’ at your home’s doors or windows, which boost the car key signal from inside the house to another device held by a second thief standing by your car.
  • The car is tricked into thinking a key is nearby and unlocks the doors.
  • The thief then jumps into your car, presses the Start button and drives off!

Yes, it’s that quick and that easy.

Block the break-in – what you can do.

Firstly, don’t assume your car is of no interest to thieves. The second-hand car market is around 30% more expensive than it was a couple of years ago, and all types of vehicles are at risk with a huge variety in the methods used to steal them.

Some popular vehicles have also recently been discontinued, such as the Fiesta, meaning these cars are stolen for spare parts.

Of course keyless entry has made it much easier for criminals who can use relay signals to unlock cars, even with your keys indoors!

But, if you were to block the signal by leaving your fob in a secure pouch, you can significantly reduce the risk.

Free faraday pouch giveaway

Here at Howden, we are on a mission to give away 10,000 faraday pouches, which could mean 10,000 fewer cars are stolen this year. If you would like to ‘block the break in’, simply pop down to your local Howden branch from 8th April and pick one up, completely free of charge*.

*Free farady pouches limited to one per policyholder. While stocks last.

Sources: The Observer, Honest John, Auto Express, Statista.

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