OPP are seeing an increase in the thefts of high end and newer motor vehicles.
The number of incidents involving vehicles equipped with keyless starting fob systems is rising. The thieves use electronic devices to enter the vehicle, start the engine and leave with it within minutes.
The push-start/keyless vehicles are more frequently targets as thieves can override the electronic ignition systems with hand-held devices.
"The OPP is recommending the installation of a steering wheel lock bar to deter thieves from stealing vehicles and driving away, even if they are able to start the engine," says Sgt. Tylor Copeland. "Parking vehicles within your garage when able, installing outdoor camera systems, motion lighting, and watching out for suspicious people/vehicles in your neighbourhood could prevent you from becoming a target."
The CAA says keyless car theft, also known as a “relay attack”, is a growing scourge with the rising number of cars today using keyless entry and ignition “smart fobs.”
"The vehicle and fob communicate using low-power radio signals that are only effective when the fob is within approximately 36 inches of the car door or ignition start/stop button," says the CAA. "Some thieves have developed special equipment to amplify the communication signals – known as a relay hack – between vehicles and smart fobs, significantly extending the system’s effective range. This can trick the car into thinking the fob is next to the car door or trunk when it is somewhere else, allowing the vehicle to be unlocked and started."
It recommends storing all your key fobs in a metal container when not in use. The metal provides a barrier that interrupts radio signals to/from the smart fob.
The OPP also wants to remind you that an unlocked door or an open window is an invitation to thieves. The "Lock It or Lose It" program reminds drivers to always:
•Roll up their vehicles' windows;
•Keep valuables out of sight;
•Lock their doors; and
•Pocket their keys.
Auto theft costs Canadians more than $1.2 billion every year. About half of all stolen vehicles are used to commit another crime or are driven - often recklessly - for simple purposes of transportation. In these cases, the thieves take advantage of owner negligence by grabbing the first vehicle they can find that's been left unsecured.
In the other half of cases, vehicles are stolen by thieves involved in organized crime rings.