• alexdubowitz

Relay theft

Updated: Feb 27, 2021

Dear Watch Member,

Cars are getting smarter. Unfortunately, so are thieves. Relay theft is a new method used to steal cars and if your car has keyless entry technology, then you’re at risk.

Relay theft isn’t an opportunist crime. It’s planned, requires specialist equipment and is carried out by organised criminal gangs.

To fight it effectively, we need to get smarter.

How does relay theft work?

Relay theft requires two or more thieves. Using the latest technology, they trick your car into thinking your keys are physically present.

One thief will stand close to your house with a device that boosts the signal from your car keys. This signal is then relayed to the second thief who is next to your car and has a second device that can use the signal to unlock your vehicle. Using this technique, it can take less than two minutes for thieves to gain full access to your car.

What can you do to make your car more secure? Here are a few simple steps to minimise the risk of relay theft:

Keep keys away from doors and windows Don’t make it easy for thieves. Although leaving your keys in the hallway may be convenient, it’s also easy for thieves to pick up the signal. The further away the keys are from your vehicle, the harder it is for criminals to pick up the signal and unlock your car.

Keep your keys in a metal box or container This can prevent the signal from reaching the relay thieves. To be extra secure, you could also purchase a Faraday pouch. This is made from material specifically designed to block these types of signals.

Invest in the right technology Most modern cars are fitted with alarms and immobilisers as standard. However, thieves’ technology is advancing in line with that of manufacturers’, and a “belt and braces” approach to car safety could make the difference when deterring potential thieves.

Steering wheel locks serve as an additional deterrent to vehicle theft.

If you need to reply regarding this message, tap on this email address: john.diaz@herts.pnn.police.uk

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