With new and more advanced technology comes plenty of added convenience, especially in the automotive world. One of the most common features found in modern automobiles is the keyless entry system. They make it so much easier for owners to gain access to their vehicles. As it turns out however, the systems also make it more convenient for thieves to gain access to said vehicles.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau is reporting that thieves are easily gaining access to vehicles thanks to unique “scanner boxes,” which identify the appropriate radio frequency codes and release the locks thanks to various keyless entry systems. At the least, this allows them access to property and items that are left inside by the unsuspecting owners, including anything hidden in the glove box or trunk. The thieves do not have to break the glass to access the vehicle nor do they appear suspect. They can simply unlock a car, gain access and take anything or everything without alarming passerby.
Long story short, modern technology is making the life of a thief easier, as well. Then again, this is nothing new, certainly not in the world of autos. The NICB estimates that more than a billion dollars worth of personal items are stolen from parked cars every year.
Worse yet, NICB president and CEO Joe Wehrle says that the scanner boxes are readily accessible.
“Our law enforcement partners tell us they are seeing this type of criminal activity and have recovered some of the illegal devices, and unfortunately, some of these devices are available on the Internet.”
There’s no reason to panic however, as the issue mostly affects later models. Autos that are securely protected by coded computer chips are more difficult for thieves to start, which means they are less likely to be stolen completely. That said, it’s still possible for ne’er do wells to gain access.
The NICB recommends leaving windows, sunroofs and vents closed at all times. They also point out that owners should always lock their vehicle, no matter how long they are going to leave it vacant. Personal possessions should remain free from sight, including those stored in shopping bags, purses or luggage. GPS navigation systems are especially ripe for the picking, as most owners leave them mounted to the dash – and even when they are stored away, thieves can still see the mounts and power adapters clearly. Cords, charging adapters and accessories should be hidden from view right along with the devices.
The NICB also recommends hiding valuables, bags and shopping goods in the trunk of your vehicle. However, you should always remain cautious that someone may be observing you. If you, for example, place bags in the trunk of your car or move personal belongings and then leave the car for some time – any thieves in the vicinity may have potentially witnessed the act. Common sense dictates that you should avoid leaving anything valuable in your vehicle especially when it’s going to be vacant for an extended period of time.
As for modern keyless entry and vehicle security systems, there isn’t much owners can do to protect themselves. If a thief wants in your vehicle, they will get in – whether that’s by using sophisticated technology or by simply breaking a window. That said, just being aware of the problem and doing what you can to protect yourself, your vehicle and your belongings can go a long way.