Drivers in Hemel Hempstead warned after rise in theft of keyless vehicles

Following an increase in thefts of vehicles with keyless entry across the country over recent months, Hertfordshire Constabulary is issuing advice to residents to help them protect their vehicles.

Keyless car theft is where a vehicle is stolen without the thief taking or getting physical access to the key. Criminals can use a signal boosting device to detect and boost the signal from a vehicle’s vicinity key, which tricks the internal computer into thinking that the vicinity key is present when it is not. The crime can be committed without the thief even entering the property, simply by detecting the key’s signal from outside.

Police

Police

Inspector Nicola Dean, from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Crime Reduction Unit, said: “An increasing number of models now use a keyless fob or vicinity key with sophisticated security systems, however criminals are continually updating their tactics and are using technology to bypass these systems, allowing them to gain access and steal vehicles.

“Never give anyone you do not know access to your keys or vehicle and when using remote central locking, check the doors to ensure the car is secure whenever leaving it unattended. You should also get into the habit of storing your fob as far away from your vehicle as possible when at home. Placing keyless fobs in a metal box or faraday pouch will make your vehicle even safer.”

Following some of these steps will also help to protect your vehicle:

Keep vicinity vehicle keys in a signal blocking pouch which stops the signal from your key. You can purchase Police approved ‘Secured By Design’ signal blocking pouches here.

Keep keys away from the front of your property; either upstairs and/or hidden away is preferable.

Check your manual or with your dealer if it is possible to switch the key’s signal off.

For additional security, consider purchasing a steering wheel lock.

If your vehicle has an alarm or immobiliser, ensure these are enabled.

If your vehicle doesn’t have a tracker, consider getting one fitted.Fit a dual band tracking device that works on VHF/UHF and GPS to ensure that one tracking system is still functioning if criminals use GPS blocking techniques to avoid detection. Purchase devices to ‘Thatcham’ and ‘SBD’ approval. Vehicles equipped with a tracking device are often promptly recovered.

Check regularly for software updates for the car.

Sometimes vehicles are stolen when thieves jam the remote door locking frequency by using specialist jamming equipment. They then enter the vehicle and clone a key from the On Board Diagnostic (OBD) port using specialist software. To help prevent this crime, consider fitting an ‘OBD safe’ device, a secure lockable device that fits over the vehicle’s on board diagnostic port, in the vehicle cabin. This prevents criminals using software to code a key from the vehicle. We recommend devices that are ‘Thatcham’ approved, “Sold Secure”, or “Secured By Design”.

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You can find more vehicle security advice on the police force's crime prevention pages.