Owners of keyless cars and vans have been warned by police to “protect their vehicles like they would their home” as it’s revealed that 42 per cent of all car thefts in London involve cars with keyless entry.
The Metropolitan Police force has launched Operation Endeavour to combat the problem. Action will include holding crime prevention events, targeted patrols and distributing advice leaflets in known hotspots. Check-and-advise points will also be sprouting up in some London boroughs – these are to confirm cars are being driven by their legitimate keepers and to provide advice on protecting the vehicle from theft.
Tips for protecting keyless cars from thieves
Ironically, the tech-savvy thieves can be thwarted by fitting a simple low-tech steering lock, gearstick lock or similar. But police are also advising drivers to park in well-lit areas, private garages, or a carpark that’s staffed (or covered by CCTV). Fitting a Tracker device should all but guarantee complete security.
Detective chief superintendent Carl Bussey, who leads Operation Endeavour, said: “This week is about creating awareness amongst drivers and showing them how quickly and simply they can reduce the risk of their vehicles being stolen.
“We believe organised crime groups using this technique [keyless car crime] are responsible for the theft of thousands of vehicles in London,” said Bussey. “Many of those that we have already arrested in connection with keyless vehicle theft have previous links to other types of serious crime.
“These people currently view keyless-vehicle theft as a low-risk, high-return crime, with the most valued motor engines fetching anything up to £1,000 when sold on the black market and entire vehicles making up to £10,000.”
Despite the rise in keyless-car thefts, car crime has dropped by 75 per cent in the UK over the past decade and the Met aims to reduce vehicle theft by 20 per cent for 2016.
For more information on how to protect your car, visit the Met Police website.