UK car theft: wireless jammers trick motorists into thinking vehicles are locked then thieves steal them or ransack the contents.
Motorists Fooled Into Thinking Cars Locked
A thief can now trick a motorist into thinking that a vehicle is locked via a wireless device that blocks its key fob. Content can then be ransacked without leaving evidence of a break-in, or causing a scene. In a more extreme case the vehicle might be stolen. A modern car is locked and unlocked via a key fob that sends a radio signal to a receiver. The challenge for the automotive industry is that a criminal can purchase a low cost jammer that floods the region with radio waves. This – when the motorist presses “lock” on the key fob – prevents the vehicle receiving the order to secure the doors, boot and fuel filler flap.
In December 2014, a 25 year old man from Manchester was convicted of using a signal jammer to steal from vehicles. The Judge – who jailed the perpetrator for 8 months – concluded: “These devices are becoming readily available (and) there needs to be a very clear message sent out to the public: if you commit an offence like this where you deliberately go out to target the property of other people, having bought a jammer, you will go to prison immediately.”
A motorist can easily avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime. Simply ensure that the vehicle is locked by listening for a click while pressing the key fob. The hazard lights should simultaneously flash. Confirmation comes by pulling 1 or more of the door handles. If the vehicle is not secured by its fob there might be a back-up. Look for a key hole that enables the locks to be engaged manually. It might be hidden by a removable plastic cap.
UK Car Theft Figures
Despite the rise of jamming devices car theft is at an historic low. The number stolen in England and Wales has fallen 70% in the last decade, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders confirmed. In 2004, 231,323 were taken without consent compared to 69,547 in 2014. The latter equates to 0.2% of the nation's 36 million Vehicles – and theft is now at its lowest level since 1968.
A Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders spokesperson explained: “The automotive industry continues to work tirelessly to stay one step ahead of criminals by working closely with police, insurers and security experts.” The spokesperson concluded: “However, to ensure thefts continue to fall, it is crucial that authorities across the country have a unified approach to collect more detailed data about how vehicles are stolen, so that both manufactures and motorists are best placed to keep their vehicles secure.”