North/South car crime divide | Motoring Issues - Car News Dec 2016


14:50 Wednesday 14 Dec 2016

New figures by stolen vehicle recovery experts Tracker have revealed a startling north/south divide.

Cars stolen by thieves accessing their keys is often debated subject when it comes to vehicle security, and it seems motorists in the north need to be especially vigilant for crooks using this method. Almost two thirds of vehicles stolen in the north are taken using their keys. Car key burglaries, referred to by the police as ‘Hanoi’ or 2-in-1 burglaries, are a becoming increasingly common in the north, where criminals break into a property with the specific intention of accessing the car keys contained within in order to steal cars parked or stored at the property. Often they have specifically targeted a property because a certain type of car is kept there, with Mercedes-Benz as their most popular target for northern car thieves. However, criminals using this method are running the risk of higher sentences for stealing vehicles by way of burglary rather than conventional vehicle theft.

Contrast that picture with the south, where just 42% of vehicles are stolen using keys, and with thieves tending to focus more on key cloning to compromise electronic security systems. Crooks intercept and copy the signal emitted from the microchips embedded in keyless fobs enabling them to start the car remotely without the owner’s knowledge. This method carries a lighter jail sentence than car key burglaries, and is harder to catch thieves red-handed. Like their northern counterparts, thieves in the south favour high end German models, with BMW the top target. The Metropolitan Police have now listed vehicle theft as one of its top seven priorities.

“It’s clear from our survey and police reports that motorists need to take extra steps to protect their vehicles from thieves, but especially people in the north of England,” said Andy Barrs, Head of Police Liaison at Tracker.

“Car owners need to be aware that thieves are always finding ways to crack manufacturer’s security measures, whether it’s hacking a vehicle or stealing the keys. This is why fitting a tracking device is fast becoming a vital part of modern security for car owners.”


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