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Car thefts up 29% with rise expected to continue

Official figures show growing car theft incidents, with experts predicting the problem could get worse

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Car theft increased 29 per cent between September 2021 and September 2022, according to newly released figures from the Office for National Statistics, with concerns that the problem could get worse.

The AA has predicted that incidents of car theft will continue to become more common in 2023, with the deepening cost of living crisis tempting more people into criminal activity. Older cars are still being stolen with ‘smash and grab’ techniques, but seasoned thieves are more commonly using relay attacks to hijack the signal from a keyless fob, using it to unlock and start a car parked on someone’s driveway.

While the theft of items from vehicles tends to be opportunistic, theft of a vehicle itself is more likely to be planned, with many cars stolen to order. Thieves often ship stolen cars abroad or cut them up for parts.

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The AA advises drivers to invest in security items such as steering wheel locks and wheel clamps, which can act as a deterrent against theft. Drivers are also told to make sure their car is locked before walking away.

Owners of cars with keyless entry should keep both their main and spare fobs in a Faraday pouch. It’s also advisable to see if your fob can be deactivated when not in use. Some manufacturers, such as Ford, offer key fobs that are motion-sensitive and will turn off when left sitting still.

The AA also says drivers shouldn’t trust their car’s immobiliser or tracking device to prevent theft, as thieves can sometimes override these. Leaving your keys in a visible location is also a bad idea. The best place to keep your car, meanwhile, is a garage if you have access to one.

Click here for our list of the best Faraday bag car key signal blockers...

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