Car theft is up and it’s not because thieves are hot-wiring more cars. In 2017, thieves stole more vehicles than in any year since 2009, according to FBI statistics. One big reason? New technology mixed with careless drivers.
Keyless entry car systems are showing up as a standard feature in many new cars. According to Edmunds, a car-buying advice site, in 2008, 11 percent of models had keyless ignition as standard equipment. That number rose to 62 percent of cars sold in 2018.
While the push-button starts are a nice feature, they also make it easier than ever for thieves to drive off with your car. All thieves need is to find a car where the key fob has been left in the vehicle. They push the button, hit the gas and off they go with your car.
FBI statistics reveal that vehicle thefts in which the thief used a keyless entry car system went up 31 percent from 2013 to 2015.
And the thefts aren’t just happening when people leave their key in the car. If you drop your key fob in public or leave it behind in a restaurant or store, thieves can find your vehicle by activating the car’s horn or security system and pressing the button on the fob. The thief goes to your car and drives off.
Tips to help you avoid car theft
- Always lock your car, including the windows.
- Never leave your car keys in the vehicle.
- Park in well-lit places.
- Don’t leave valuables in a parked car.
- Use a theft-protection device, such as a steering wheel lock.