UK car theft increased by 25 per cent to 130,389 in 2022, compared with 2021.
Car thefts in the UK surged by 25% to 130,389 in 2022 compared to the previous year. This increase has prompted officials to consider banning keyless car hacking tools. The government is exploring plans to outlaw the sale, purchase, and possession of keyless repeaters, signal jammers, and hacking technology to counter the rise in vehicle theft.
Police believe these electronic devices are responsible for the majority of vehicle thefts. Superintendent Matthew Moscrop of the National Police Chiefs’ Council explained that the widespread use of keyless technology has led to the development of easily accessible devices that facilitate car theft. Officials are collaborating with the Home Office to curb the sale of these devices and reduce tactics available to thieves.
Policing Minister Chris Philp supports these measures, recognizing their potential to significantly decrease car-related crime. The prevalent method employed by organized crime groups is to steal high-end cars either for export or disassembly. Thieves often use "relays" and "repeaters" to intercept keyless fob signals, while criminals are also turning to hacking devices that exploit vulnerabilities in car security systems.
The balance of any new legislation is crucial to prevent unintended consequences. Authorities are working with the National Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service to target export routes for stolen vehicles. As car theft rates return to pre-pandemic levels, law enforcement is eager to address this rising concern.