Relay Attacks Now Most Popular Method Of Car Theft

Thu 13th Jan 2022

Motorists are being targeted by ever more sophisticated methods of car theft, with more than half now stolen using electronic means, rather than brute force.

The age-old method of a crow-bar or other means of forced entry accounts for only 13.66 per cent of car thefts, with car owners more likely to get their car stolen after leaving their car unlocked. But is the top two methods which will have new car owners worried, according to the data which has been compiled by Uswitch, the top way of getting into the car is by manipulating the signal from a remote locking device, with a staggering 35.85 per cent, more than a third. Use of a key or electric fob is second on the list.

“In 2020, the most common method of entry to a vehicle for car thieves was by manipulating the signal from a remote locking device,” said the Uswitch report. “Despite this method being relatively new, with no data available for it prior to 2018/19, it currently accounts for 35.85% of cases. This is an example of technological solutions to simple problems causing more issues than those they solve. Sometimes simpler is just better, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

“The second-highest proportion of vehicle break-ins were achieved by the thief using a key or electric fob, while the third-highest is due to the car simply being left unlocked. These two methods of entry suggest that car owners could take greater care when locking their vehicles and storing their car keys in safe places.”

The extensive report by the price comparison website also revealed that London was the car crime capital, with a crime rate of 113 vehicles per 10,000 inhabitants. The West Midlands and Greater Manchester complete the top three. However, according to the analysis, car crime is actually on the decline.

The report said: “From 2016 to 2021, national vehicle crime numbers fell by 8.70% from 365,037 to 336,650. This shows that overall, England and Wales are becoming safer places for car owners and vehicle crime is becoming less prevalent. This could, in part, be due to people staying at home more often in the last few years due to coronavirus, so people have not been leaving their vehicles in unsecure places during the day.”