Police are urging motorists to search out their old-fashioned crook locks after modern car security systems have become an easy target for thieves.
Organised gangs who steal luxury models to order are thought to be behind an increase in car thefts, having mastered how to get around high-tech security devices.
They can trick the ‘keyless’ ignition systems found in top-end cars with blank microchips that can be reprogrammed to start the engine. Others use ‘jammers’ to stop cars locking when drivers press their remote keys after parking.
A steering lock (above) could be just the thing to deter thieves from stealing luxury cars (File photo)
After years of falling car crime, latest figures show car theft in London is close to a two-year high, with nearly 2,000 incidents in July alone. Meanwhile in Stockport, Greater Manchester, there has been a ‘significant’ 25 per cent rise in car thefts, with 2,500 in the past year.
Stolen cars are rarely recovered, as gangs quickly dismantle them and send them abroad. So police are urging drivers to revert to more basic methods for keeping their cars safe – such as putting a heavy-duty lock across the steering wheel when parking and leaving cars locked in garages overnight.
A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: ‘Vehicle owners can reduce the chances of being victims of theft.
A steering wheel lock covers the entire wheel making it impossible to drive off (File photo)
‘In terms of the key cloning method, consider additional security both electronic and physical. Make sure your car is left in a well-lit area; ensure your car is locked when leaving it by checking a door; consider a steering lock or garaging your vehicle; avoid reliance on the manufacturer’s fitted electronic security and locks; consider lock shields and marking schemes as a deterrent; and consider purchasing a tracking device.’
The new high-tech crime wave is a blow as improved car security has been seen as one of the reasons behind falling crime rates over the past twenty years.