We have experienced two types of auto-related crimes in Long Branch: theft of valuables from cars and theft of the cars themselves.
N.B. This chart shows auto theft statistics for ALL of 22 Division, so it is not just data for Long Branch.
If you fail to lock the doors to your car, you leave a huge opportunity for thieves to enter it. Therefore, the best way to prevent thieves from getting into your car is to lock it whenever it is parked. (This includes not only at your home, but also when you go out shopping.)
Some of you may have seen security cam video of thieves checking car doors. They’re looking for cars that are unlocked, because they represent opportunities for quick entry and exit compared to vehicles that ARE locked.
If you have a garage, use it! By parking your car in a garage, you not only keep your vehicle out of sight, but also any valuables in your car are also out of sight. When your car is not visible to thieves, it’s off their radar.
By the way, lock your garage, too. If a thief can open your garage door, he can also close it to prevent anyone from seeing him while he tries to get into your car as well as time to break in undetected.
How Thieves Circumvent Locked Cars
As in life, nothing is 100% certain. Even if you lock your car and park in a garage, it does not provide 100% protection from theft. The two principles we described above will deter a casual thief, but not a thief who is determined to get into your vehicle.
Here are some common ways a more determined thief can use.
If your car is parked outside, a thief can break one of the windows to be able to reach in and grab valuables that might be visible.
High-rise apartment dwellers or condo owners park their vehicles in underground parking garages, which means they are out of sight of passersby on the street or even from many of the other residents of the building who may also park underground.
This means a thief has much more opportunity to operate without being seen and has more time to enter a vehicle – especially at night when there is very little traffic in an underground garage.
A thief can get into your car not only by breaking a window, but also by forcing open a door or sun roof.
A criminal can enter and steal your car in under 60 seconds – even if you have keyless or remote locking systems on your vehicle.
Professional car thieves have increasingly been using a technique called a “relay attack” to enter locked vehicles. Here’s how it works.
Your car’s locking system and the remote fob communicate with each other using low powered radio waves that are only effective when the car door and the fob are within one meter (or 36 inches) of each other.
Research by Tracker, a car security company, revealed that 50% of those surveyed leave their keys either in the hallway of their house or a key pot elsewhere.
The photo below illustrates how a team of thieves perform a relay attack.
The criminal on the right is holding a device that pings the car’s locking system, basically impersonating the key. The car’s locking system replies to the ping by sending out a signal that’s intended to connect with the key fob. The device the criminal on the right is holding relays that signal to the device the criminal to the left is holding. This device amplifies the signal enough to be able to communicate with a key fob within 10 to 15 meters of the front door. When the key fob in the house receives this relayed signal, it responds with a signal to unlock the doors that is relayed back through the two devices the thieves are using. The same process can be used on the ignition system to start the vehicle.
To illustrate how prevalent the relay attack is being used, company Tracker revealed that 92% of the cars it recovered last year were taken without using the keys. This is an increase from 2018’s figure which stood at 88% and a worrying increase of 26% compared with four years ago. The figure in 2016 stood at 66%.
Models Most Likely to be Stolen
There are rings of professional car thieves who steal cars to order – usually for shipment overseas. If your car is stolen by one of these rings, it can be inside a shipping container within hours of being stolen.
Here is the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Top 10 list of stolen vehicles.
- 2018 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD SUV
- 2017 Lexus RX350/RX450H 4DR AWD SUV
- 2017 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD SUV
- 2018 Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450H/RX450HL 4DR AWD SUV
- 2018 Ford F150 4WD Pickup
- 2019 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD SUV
- 2018 Toyota Highlander 4DR 4WD SUV
- 2017 Toyota Highlander 4DR 4WD SUV
- 2019 Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450H/RX450HL 4DR AWD SUV
- 2017 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD Pickup
Note that most of these are not what we would consider luxury vehicles
What You Can Do
Here are 5 things you can do to prevent your car or truck from being stolen.
- Block electronic key fob signals: A Faraday box or wallet, is the best way to block out any electronic signals, (A Faraday box is made from metal – either solid or metal mesh – and blocks radio waves.)
- Keep keys out of sight: Leaving keys in the hallway or on the kitchen worktop means thieves can easily employ the relay technique if it is within proximity or, failing that, break in and swipe them.
- Add layers of security: Physical barriers can be effective in deterring thieves. Consider adding a crook lock or wheel clamp to your car.
- Install a ‘ghost immobilizer’: For another layer of protection, add a secondary barrier to your car’s factory fitted immobilizer by having a unique access code to start your car.
- Invest in a tracking device: A tracking device won’t stop your vehicle being stolen, but it significantly increases chances of police recovering and returning it