Keyless technology increases car theft

The RAC have shared new figures that showed an increase in vehicle thefts, prompting concern about the security of keyless technology.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), some 89,000 vehicles were stolen in England and Wales last year – up by 56% from 57,000 in 2016.

Interestingly, the ONS said there has been a ‘noticeable change’ in the way car thieves are gaining entry, with an increase in the number of unlocked cars being stolen.

According to the statistics authority, entering a vehicle through an unlocked door now occurs in half of all car thefts, while forcing a lock accounts for just one in seven.

The ONS figures come in the wake of reports that devices known as ‘relay boxes’ are being bought online by criminals, who use them to extend the signal from a car owner’s fob and unlock the vehicle.

RAC insurance spokesman Simon Williams said, ‘While we know that the picture is an uneven one across the country, the fact that 32,000 more people were victims of car theft last year compared to 2016 is nothing short of shocking.

‘The increase can probably be put down at least in part to the rise of more digitally-savvy criminals who try to exploit vulnerabilities in modern car security systems – although we know manufacturers will do all they can to keep their vehicles secure.’