We naively believe that car theft is in decline and we will probably never fall victim to a car thief. Unless we’ve already dealt with the consequences of a car break-in, the idea of car theft probably won’t even pop into our minds. However, the worrying fact is people rarely take proper precautions to secure their vehicles, especially due to a popular belief car thefts happen only in urban areas with high crime rates. The car theft phenomenon is, unfortunately, very common and hard to control, especially due to a rising number of keyless car theft cases that are extremely difficult to detect. There are many misconceptions about car theft people firmly believe are true. The first step towards improving your vehicle’s security is being aware of car theft risks. To help you educate more on vehicle thefts and take proper security measurements, we are to shatter 5 of the most popular myths on car thefts.
1. Car thefts are in decline.
After years of decline due to improved security measures in the ‘90s, car theft is now increasing and is currently the highest on record. Thieves most often prey on premium car brands, such as Mercedes, Audi, and BMW. According to the Home Office’s Crime Data Report, the number of stolen vehicles in the UK has doubled over the last few years, while the FBE has estimated that 1 vehicle is stolen approximately 40 seconds in the USA.
While the traditional car-theft methods are not used as often as years ago, modern, hi-tech theft strategies are becoming more and more popular and at the same time difficult to detect. This goes hand in hand with the growing use of keyless car entry systems. A higher number of keyless car thefts has also contributed to a fairly high number of insurance payouts that have drastically risen in the last few years.
2. It’s very hard to steal a modern car.
There is no doubt the technology has seen major improvements in the last two decades, but the thieves are becoming smarter too and are still somehow smarter than most cars. The latest non-invasive car theft methods allow them to steal vehicles in as little as a few minutes without using the original key! For this reason, the police fail to identify the majority of people associated with hi-tech car thefts.
One of such methods is a jamming attack, which can be performed on any car with a wireless key fob and works by disrupting communication between the original key fob and the receiver inside the vehicle. Another popular method is the so-called “relay attack” that involves two devices communicating with each other via RF. This process fools the car into recognizing the original key fob when a break-in device has been used. What allows the existence and even the development of these theft strategies are cheap tools and free resources that are easily accessible online.
3. Factory car alarms are good enough.
Car alarms are considered a popular theft-deterrent system that may help prevent break-ins and car thefts by activating the siren every time any unusual vibrations are detected. Many newer car models come with built-in factory alarm systems as standard equipment. Therefore, owners of modern vehicles often rely on car alarms to protect their valuables from unnecessary theft.
However, the factory and even the aftermarket car alarms are, unfortunately, not the most reliable anti-theft solution. It has been estimated that the vast majority of triggered car alarms in major cities, such as New York, are actually false alarms according to the police data. In many cases, the alarm can be triggered just by passing traffic or even bad weather conditions. This causes major noise pollution and actually deter people from reporting a potential crime. Only a small percentage of people would actually call the police when they hear the alarm noise.
What is even more worrying is the fact that experienced car thieves are professional technicians that will disable any car alarm within a few seconds. Besides the car alarm, extra precautions should, therefore, be considered in order to keep a vehicle well protected.
4. Car thefts only happen in big cities.
Car theft is generally considered a big-city crime. It is undoubtedly much likely to occur in highly-populated urban areas that give criminals an easy chance for a quick escape as well as enable them to remain undetected due to a large number of similar vehicles. Heavy urban traffic actually makes it even harder to spot a stolen vehicle. However, car thefts happen in quiet neighborhoods as well, which has become even more common with the rise in keyless car thefts.
This is especially the case for the relay attack that enables thieves to steal a vehicle from outside a house without any noise in less than a minute. It is, therefore, crucial to store car keys in signal-blocking pouches or metal key cabinets that behave like a Faraday cage. Besides, it is equally important to keep the car keys away from the front door as the criminals might hook the car key ring through the letterbox with a special tool in the shape of a fishing rod.
5. Thieves are only active at night.
Statistically speaking, car theft is more likely to occur at night than during the day when thieves may easily be detected. However, more and more car thefts and break-ins happen at any time, especially due to a higher number of keyless car theft technologies that enable stealing a car almost instantly and do not require any professional tools. An opportunistic thief will actually not think twice about breaking into a vehicle or even steal a car if something caught their attention. And time is not an obstacle.
Vehicle crimes occur at a higher frequency in urban areas where a larger number of cars are parked together, such as airports, cinema complexes or shopping centers, where thieves are on watch mostly during business hours due to a larger number of vehicles being unattended for several hours. Particularly at risk are employees’ vehicles that are parked on larger parking complexes, such as shopping mall parking lots.
Car security should not be taken for granted. To avoid being a victim of any car-related crime, it’s important to educate yourself on car theft and obtain as much up-to-date information on car theft statistics in your local area as possible, as well as take all the necessary measures to properly secure your vehicle. You can even consider getting a high-quality real-time GPS car tracker to keep an eye on your car 24/7 simply via the app on your phone. Peace of mind matters!