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As the festive season approaches, Northamptonshire Police is supporting a national campaign to raise awareness of keyless thefts of vehicles.
The number of keyless thefts is rising across the country, indeed in Northamptonshire we have had 211 since the beginning of September, and officers want to arm the public with the best crime prevention advice to reduce their risk of becoming victims of this crime type.
Chef Inspector Pete Basham, said: “As technology advances, so sadly do criminals, and we are seeing more and more keyless thefts of cars as results.
“However there as some very simple ways to reduce your risk of being a victim of this type of crime.
“By following the 12 crime prevention tips below, you will seriously decrease your chances of having your car taken by shameless thieves.
“We will be sharing these tips during the first 12 days of December so as many people as possible see our advice and take the opportunity to follow it.”
Signal Suppression Pouch/Box
Invest in a Faraday Pouch which is a practical way of managing the signal(s) sent out by the vehicle’s key fob. Conduct diligent research into the quality of the product you are looking to buy. Consider the materials any pouch/box is made from and the manufacturing processes that have gone into making it. Are you trusting the security of a high value vehicle to a product that only costs a few pounds?
Do you know where your spare key-fobs are? How many spare keys do you have for your keyless vehicles? When not in use, consider removing the battery from the spare keys so that there are fewer examples of the same key frequency available for the keyless car thieves to capture.
Location of keys when not in use
Think where you leave your keys when at home. Whilst not fool-proof, the more central the keys are placed within a home environment, the better. Do not leave keys close to the front door however practical it may be.
Consult your vehicle’s manufacturer
Customers are encouraged to speak to their vehicle’s manufacturer about preventative advice including changing the vehicle’s security and convenience settings. Sometimes convenience functions can be disabled.
Physical Equipment Locks /Aftermarket Security Devices
Invest in a steering wheel lock, gear level lock or a pedal box. The first two are self-explanatory and are more of a traditional means to deter thieves - they offer a degree of protection due to the time required by the thief to disable them. A pedal box is a bright yellow metal box that is made to fit your car, wrapping around the foot pedals. It has a lock on the box and prevents the pedals from being accessed. Being yellow it can be easily seen and may ward off any potential thieves early. Heavy, power tools which are noisy would need to be used which would discourage most thieves from attempting to steal the vehicle.
Do you have CCTV covering your property and vehicle(s)? CCTV can be a great deterrent to potential criminals as well as offering you peace of mind. It can also help the police with any investigations they conduct.
If you have a garage, is there space to store your keyless vehicle inside it? If so, this will not only hide it from view but it will also act as a further barrier to thieves.
Bollards / Driveway Gates
Both can be effective in offering a physical barrier to deter potential thieves. If you have them fitted, do you use them and do you lock them? Consider your locking options with the gates you have and lock them at night-time.
These can be positioned on the driveway either in front of or behind a keyless vehicle, so as to make it more difficult to steal and thus reducing the chances thieves will target your keyless vehicle.
Do you have the appropriate insurance policy to cover your losses in the event that your car is stolen?
Vehicle Tracking devices
Does your vehicle have a tracking device fitted? If stolen, the chances of the vehicle being recovered improve greatly when one is fitted.
Valuables inside vehicles
When a vehicle is stolen, whatever is left inside it is also stolen too. Please do not leave valuables in your car overnight unnecessarily