Keyless vehicle owners urged to be vigilant with thefts on the rise

Alex Smedley

Sergeant Alex Smedley, from the Welwyn Hatfield Safer Neighbourhood Team. - Credit: Herts police

Owners of keyless vehicles have been urged to be vigilant with thefts on the rise in Welwyn Hatfield.

The Welwyn Hatfield Safer Neighbourhood Team have noticed a small increase in keyless vehicles being stolen, and have asked both owners and the public to be on alert to stop would-be thiefs.

“We have noticed a small rise in the number of keyless vehicles being stolen and so we would like to urge the public to be vigilant,” said sergeant Alex Smedley, from the Welwyn Hatfield SNT.

“There are a number of measures you can take to protect your keyless vehicle.

“One of the best measures is to put your keys in a screened or signal-blocking pouch, such as a Faraday bag.

"The reason behind this is because criminals use signal boosting devices to detect and boost the signal from a vehicle’s vicinity key. This tricks the internal computer into thinking that the vicinity key is present when it is not.

“The crime can be committed without the thief even entering the property, simply by detecting the key’s signal from outside. Having your keys in a screened or signal-blocking pouch is a great way of stopping this.

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“As well as this, when you’re at home, keep your car key (and the spare) well away from the car. Remember to also turn off wireless signals on your fob when it's not being used.

“For more tips about protecting vehicles from theft, visit our website at herts.police.uk/crimeprevention.”

This is the second appeal for keyless vehicle owners to be vigilant this year, after police originally appealed back in March.

Officers have been investigating thefts as part of Operation Remote, which focuses on keyless thefts, and Operation Goldjuno, the national campaign around catalytic converter crime, infrastructure crime and cash-based money laundering linked to the waste industry.

This has included visiting scrapyards to check everything is in order, including no stolen cars, and speaking to their business owners to offer crime prevention advice.

They have also been installing signage to remind keyless vehicle owners to make sure their fobs are kept in a pouch to block the signal.