Today’s vehicles are very well equipped and their technology is constantly evolving. While technological advances make our lives easier, they are also enticing for criminals who have developed techniques allowing them to steal a vehicle in less than a minute.
Here are some tips to keep your vehicle from falling prey to thieves.
The smart key: An ally for thieves
The Équité Association recently published a report identifying the 10 most stolen vehicles in Quebec in 2021:
1) 2018 Honda CR-V
2) 2019 Ford F-Series
3) 2019 Lexus NX
4) 2019 Honda Civic
5) 2017 Toyota Highlander
6) 2017 Toyota Tacoma
7) 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan
8) 2018 Honda Accord
9) 2017 Toyota Corolla
10) 2016 Lexus RX
What do all the vehicles in this ranking and those built in recent years have in common? They are all equipped with the latest technology and, in most cases, have a keyless entry system.
Smart keys are gaining in popularity. They work using radio waves and can be used to unlock a vehicle without a physical key.
The driver simply walks up to the vehicle or touches the handle and the doors magically unlock, provided their electronic key, or fob, is in their pocket or purse. Then, when the driver gets into the car, they simply press a button and the car can be started without putting the key into the ignition.
Smart keys are extremely practical, especially when you have several items in your hands. However, they don’t only make life easier for drivers. They also make it easier and quicker for thieves to steal vehicles.
How are vehicles stolen?
Car theft techniques have evolved over recent decades. Thieves now steal cars electronically. To commit the theft, the perpetrator gets close to the residence and uses special software to pick up the signal from the electronic key. In less than a minute, they can create a copy of the key and drive off with your vehicle.
Thieves can also connect their equipment to the vehicle’s on-board computer to steal the key manufacturing code.
Did you know that the highest theft rate in Quebec is in Montreal? In 2021, the Montreal police department counted 6,572 vehicle thefts. This was a nearly 37% increase compared to 2020.
Tips to avoid car theft if you have an electronic key
Be aware that car theft can be prevented by adopting the following good practices:
- Store your key in a metal box away from your front door and windows. This will prevent thieves from picking up your key’s signal.
- Never leave your vehicle unattended with the keys inside or the engine running.
- Install an alarm or anti-theft system on your vehicle. You can also get anti-theft markings engraved on certain parts of your vehicle such as the wheels, lights, engine and windshield. This may even get you a discount on your car insurance premium.
We hope this article will be useful to you. For other tips on how to avoid vehicle theft, see our article entitled “How to protect your vehicle from theft”.