DETECTIVES are urging drivers to keep an eye on their cars after a more than 60 keyless car thefts in Rotherham over the last few months.
Many of the incidents have involved criminals targeting new cars which have keyless entry systems, making them more vulnerable to "relay attacks" or "key cloning".
Between September 14 and November 8, there were 66 offences in Rotherham alone.
Force lead for serious acquisitive crime, Det Chief Insp Jamie Henderson, said: “It’s really important that you consider the security of your vehicle, especially if you have a car which has keyless entry. Whilst it’s great technology, we are seeing that it does sadly increase your risk of being targeted by thieves.
“Keyless car theft is exactly what it says on the tin - thieves manage to open, start and drive away in a car without needing the key. How do they do it? Well, they clone the signal from the cars remote key fob in a method known as a ‘relay attack’.
“This uses two transmitters which intercept then relay the signal from the key. The first transmitter intercepts the unique signal from the key, even through a house wall, and transmits it to the second unit held close to the car.
“This sends the cloned signal to the car, fooling the security system into thinking the key is nearby and allowing it to be unlocked and started.”
DCI Henderson added that lots of us spend a lot of money on a new motor, and that his advice would be to not be stingy when it comes to protecting it.
He said: “Invest in the most advanced technology such as signal blocking pouches, motion sensor cameras for your car or even a good old-fashioned wheel lock.
“All of these methods help deter car thieves and leave your car safe.”
How can you protect your car? The police have this advice:
- Buy a signal blocking pouch to keep your keys in.
- A wheel lock is an immediate red flag for thieves.
- Sort that garage out and use it for you car.
- Don't draw attention to your car - taking your phone or sat-nav out is a wise move.
- Check it's locked - it's common for car wing mirrors to be folded in when locked, so it's easy for savvy thieves to spot an unlocked target.