Keep your car safe – Protect your car from thieves

Thieves often target owners’ car keys or keyless technology key fobs to gain access to their vehicles.

We’re covering four themes in this campaign:crimestoppers

  • Car key burglary
  • Keyless car crime
  • High value car theft
  • Stealing valuables from cars

Keep your car keys or key fob safe

Car thieves often break into the owner’s home just to get their keys or key fob; here are some tips to keep your car safe:

  • Keep your car keys or key fob out of sight
  • Store them somewhere safe
  • Use extra security systems such as immobilisers and visible security locks
  • On keyless cars, use an old-fashioned steering wheel lock to deter thieves
  • Use a driveway parking post or a wheel clamp
  • Keep key fobs far away from doors and windows

How do criminals gain access to a keyless car?

  • Trying the car’s door handles first (some models can remain unlocked if the owner’s key fob is nearby)
  • Breaking a car window to gain access
  • Capturing the key fob signal and transmitting it to a receiver, which is then used to unlock the car
  • Jamming the signal from the owner’s key fob to the car. The owner thinks they have locked the car, but haven’t.

However they get into a car, they can then plug in a hand-held ‘key fob’ programmer into the car’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) port.

Once their fob is programmed, which can take less than 15 seconds, the thief has control of the car.

These ‘key fob’ programmers are freely and legally available on the internet, and car makers are obliged by law to allow access to the OBD.

Targeting high value cars

Criminal gangs often target expensive models, as they can sell them abroad or break them up for parts relatively easily. Some rarer and more expensive models are stolen to order.

Whilst most of these models have in-built tracking systems, the police often only have a couple of hours from when a car is stolen to track it down, before it is disabled by the thieves.

Hide your valuables

Thieves also break into cars just to steal the contents. So make sure that your valuable items are left out of sight or are locked in the boot.

If you have any information, about this or any other crime, please contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via our quick and easy anonymous online form here on our website.