Keyless car thefts 'worryingly high' as one in five vehicles stolen in broad daylight prompts urgent warning

Keyless car thefts 'worryingly high' as one in five vehicles stolen in broad daylight prompts urgent warning

WATCH: Mike Briggs on car thefts in the UK

Hemma Visavadia

By Hemma Visavadia

Published: 27/05/2024

- 10:00

More than a third of thefts involved keyless cars

Drivers have been warned about the number of vehicles being stolen during certain times of the day as one in five vehicles was stolen during daylight hours last year.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 363,321 vehicles were reported stolen to the police last year.

Research found that 16 per cent of thefts occurred when criminals broke windows while a staggering 46 per cent of all vehicle thefts took place after the vehicle was left unlocked.

Roughly four in 10 of all thefts involved hacking into remote locking devices and keyless cars.

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Keyless car

Roughly 363,321 vehicles were reported stolen last year


Mark Trimbee, CEO of Regtransfers, explained that when it comes to keys, drivers should keep them out of sight and away from entry points to prevent theft through methods like key fishing.

As for keyless entry cars, the expert said drivers should reprogram keys when buying a second-hand car.

Using signal-blocking pouches can prevent “relay attacks”, and investing in a steering wheel lock adds an extra layer of security - for both keyed and keyless cars, he added.

Trimbee said: “While you’re out on the road, keep your doors locked and maintain enough space to manoeuvre in traffic.

Above all else, your personal safety is the most important thing - you should contact the police immediately if you feel threatened."

The warning comes as research from Tracker Network UK recovered 110 stolen vehicles in April this year, compared to just 47 in April 2023.

Due to the rise in car thefts, particularly in London, Mayor Sadiq Khan called on the car industry to change its keyless car mechanisms.

He stated that the industry has been slow in developing and implementing solutions to address the issue with the security burden remaining on the consumer.

Calling on manufacturers for a solution, Khan said that the leadership and innovation of companies is “critical” to tackling this issue.

Writing to the UK car manufacturing industry, Khan said: “As you control the security features of new vehicles and can design out current and emerging security vulnerabilities.

“It’s beggars belief that in 2024, cars can be stolen within seconds.

“Worryingly, changes in technology mean it’s now arguably easier to steal a car than a few years ago.”


Car thief uses a screwdriver on car door

One in five thefts took place in daylight


Tracker estimated that between January and April, the police recovered 352 vehicles with a combined value of £8.4million.

Roughly £2.7million worth of stolen cars was uncovered last month alone.

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