January 23, 2019

Recovery specialists report steep rise in ‘keyless’ vehicle theft

More than three-quarters (82%) of LCVs were stolen without the owner’s keys – up by nearly 100% compared to 2016 (44%), according to 2017 recovery figures from TRACKER, the stolen vehicle recovery specialists. 

The Ford Transit was again the most popular van stolen last year and accounted for over half of the LCV recoveries made by TRACKER.

“Keyless entry technology has now been widely adopted in the LCV market, and this is evident in the fact that last year there was a two-fold increase in LCVs being stolen without the owner’s keys,” confirms Andy Barrs, head of police liaison at TRACKER.

“The relatively new trend in vehicle theft termed ‘relay attack’, that allows criminals to harness more sophisticated theft techniques to overcome existing vehicle security technology, such as immobilisers and keyless entry systems, has played a significant part in this increase.”

The impact of van theft goes beyond just having the inconvenience of being without a vehicle. As well as the hassle of dealing with insurers to get a vehicle replaced, owners need to consider the financial impact – an increase in insurance premiums, the cost of replacing tools or equipment, and the administration costs involved – as well as the possibility for loss of business, he said.

“It is worth remembering it’s not just about protecting your van from being stolen but safeguarding your business too. Technology is just one part of vehicle security and more vigilance needs to be taken across the board; this includes van owners, manufacturers, dealers, insurers and the police.

“Whilst a tracking device won’t stop a van being stolen, it can significantly increase the chances of the police locating and returning it to its rightful owner.”