Increase in “keyless” car thefts in Redcar & Cleveland
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Drivers are once again being reminded to store digital keyfobs securely after a spate of “keyless” thefts of cars, vans and motorbikes in Redcar & Cleveland.
Cars with keyless entry unlock automatically when the key comes within a short distance of the car. This can be from inside a pocket or bag. If you have to push a button on your car key to open your car, you don't have keyless entry.
Keyless car theft or 'relay theft' is when a device is used to fool the car into thinking the key is close by. This unlocks the car and starts the ignition.
Thieves only need to be within a few metres of your car key to capture the signal, even if it’s inside your home. This means that even if your car and home are secure, thieves can still unlock, start and steal your car.
Wards across Redcar (notably Kirkleatham, West Dyke) as well as nearby Dormanstown and Eston have been particularly affected, with a range of vehicles including Fords, Vauxhalls, Audis and Land Rovers/Range Rovers being targeted – predominantly during the hours of darkness (from around 6pm and overnight).
Targeted extra patrols are taking place and a number of the vehicles stolen have been recovered, with suspects identified and arrested in several cases with enquiries on-going.
We would urge motorists to take all possible steps to protect their vehicles, including:
- When at home keep your car key/fob (and any spare) well away from the car.
- Consider buying a Faraday pouch or similar to keep your car key/fob in. These pouches contain signal-blocking materials that stop your key transmitting its code, preventing crooks from being able to detect and amplify the signal. Check your manual or speak to your dealer to find out if your key can be switched off.
- Reprogramme your keys if you buy a second-hand car.
- Electronic devices can be used to jam the electronic signal from your key fob to lock your vehicle. Always manually check your vehicle has locked before walking away.
For further information on this or other crime prevention advice either contact Paul Payne, Crime Prevention Officer for Redcar, Eston and East Cleveland, or see the appropriate section on our website to access all aspects of crime prevention advice.