6 Myths About How Criminals Open Locked Cars

Kim J. Clark

Every car owner expresses concern about car theft or someone breaking into their vehicle and stealing valuable items. And they often have these ideas about how thieves get into locked cars, but most of them are just myths. These beliefs can make you worry for no reason or give you a false feeling that your car is super safe. Here’s a selection of the six most common myths about how criminals open locked cars and tips on better protecting your vehicle.

Myth #1: Criminals Pick Car Locks

One prevailing myth about car theft is that criminals pick the locks of cars to gain entry. That’s why people think that keyless entry cars are safer. However, that’s far from reality. Car thieves don’t have the luxury of picking locks as it’s time-consuming and conspicuous, making it an unfavourable choice as thieves prefer speed and stealth. 

Today, criminals often employ other means, such as using specialised tools to bypass car locks or gaining access through unlocked doors. They also rely on old, trusted methods such as wire hangers and smashing windows.

Myth #2: You Can Stop Criminals’ Devices With Aluminium Foil

A couple of years ago, there were news reports about a rise in car thefts involving remote entry systems that allowed car thieves to enter locked vehicles. 

From then on, people started believing that wrapping your car key fob in aluminium foil can prevent theft by blocking signals from criminals’ devices. Another belief was that keeping your car key as far away from your car as possible would also block these signals. 

In reality, you need more than just wrapping your car key in aluminium foil to provide the level of security you need. There is no evidence that proves aluminium foil helps keep your car safe from breaking in. 

Also, it’s a good idea to stash your key away from your car, but avoid leaving it hanging by the door or out in the open at home. Otherwise, some crafty burglar could easily snatch it and take off with your wheels.

Myth #3: Only Criminals Break Into Locked Cars

You know, car theft isn’t just the work of criminals. Sometimes, if you catch someone trying to break into a car, they might not be planning a major heist. Carjackers prefer going unnoticed, especially during the day. 

So, if you spot someone fiddling with a wire hanger to pop a car open in broad daylight, chances are they simply left their keys inside and are too impatient to wait for a local locksmith service.

Myth #4: Criminals Only Target Luxury And New Cars

Many car owners believe that criminals exclusively target luxury or brand-new cars. However, that’s another common misconception that can create a false sense of security for those with older or less flashy vehicles. In fact, older cars are preferred by carjackers as they have outdated security systems and easier to break locks. 

On the other hand, new and luxury models come with advanced security features, engine immobilisers, and GPS tracking. Of course, some sophisticated thieves use modern gadgets to bypass such security measures, but overall, older cars are easier to steal or break into. 

Another reason older cars are more likely to get stolen is the demand for parts. These cars usually have parts in high demand, either for resale or repair of similar models. Thieves often target such vehicles to strip them for valuable components that can be sold on the black market.

Much more, older cars attract less attention than newer or luxury models. Thieves might prefer stealing vehicles that blend in and are less likely to be recognized or reported immediately.

Myth #5: Criminals Can’t Steal Cars With Key Fobs

Keyless entry systems have become increasingly popular, but some believe that these systems are foolproof against theft. That’s another myth about how criminals open locked cars. Modern criminals know how to exploit keyless entry vulnerabilities and gain vehicle access. 

While key fobs provide convenience and somewhat more security, car thieves are more determined and equipped than ever. They use advanced techniques such as relay attacks and signal amplification, which allows them to intercept and mimic the signals transmitted from the car to the key fob. This gives them complete and easy access to the vehicle.

Now, if you want to tackle these threats, you can amp up your car’s security with a few tricks. For example, you can use signal-blocking pouches or Faraday bags to protect your key fobs from unauthorised access. Moreover, keeping track of updates and security fixes for both your car and key fob can reduce the risk of vulnerabilities.

Myth #6: Criminals Only Steal Cars At Night

The widespread belief that car thefts only occur at night is another common misconception. Contrary to this myth, car thieves operate at various times, and daylight thefts are not uncommon. There are different reasons behind the timing of car thefts, so it’s important to stay vigilant around the clock.

Carjackers often time their raids depending on the pattern of human activity. While night provides a veil of darkness that can aid criminals, the daytime offers different advantages, such as crowded public spaces and the potential for blending in with regular traffic. 

Thieves might seize opportunities during daylight when vehicle owners are momentarily distracted, increasing the likelihood of a successful theft. 

If you want to avoid potential car thefts, you must maintain awareness during both day and night. Always use secure parking, be mindful of your belongings, and use anti-theft measures regardless of the time of day.

How Can You Avoid Car Theft?

Now that we’ve debunked these myths, it’s essential to understand how to protect your vehicle from car theft effectively. Here are some practical tips and strategies to empower you in safeguarding your car:

Quality locks play a pivotal role in deterring thieves. Invest in reliable and up-to-date locking mechanisms for your vehicle doors and ignition system. On top of these, consider steering wheel locks and gearshift locks as additional layers of security. These visible obstacles can discourage potential thieves and make your vehicle less appealing as a target.

Safeguarding your car keys is equally crucial. Avoid leaving spare keys inside the car, and when at home, store your keys in a secure and undisclosed location. Additionally, be cautious about where you place your keys in public spaces to prevent them from being easily snatched.

You can also enhance the security of your vehicle by parking in well-lit areas and using secure parking facilities when available. Consider installing motion-activated lights or a security camera system when parked at home to deter thieves. On top of that, always be aware of your surroundings, especially in unfamiliar or secluded locations.

Incorporate technological solutions into your security measures. GPS tracking devices can assist in recovering a stolen vehicle, and car alarms act as audible alerts, drawing attention to unauthorized access. Always check for software updates for your vehicle’s security systems and install them promptly.

Community engagement is another layer of defence. You can join or create a neighbourhood watch program to promote a collaborative effort in preventing car theft. Sharing information about suspicious activities or known theft patterns can contribute to a safer community.

Combining these practical tips and strategies can significantly reduce the risk of car theft. Being proactive and staying informed about evolving security measures will protect your vehicle and contribute to a collective effort to create safer environments for everyone.

In a world where car theft remains a concern, you should know how to separate fact from fiction regarding how criminals open locked cars. If you can dispel these myths and understand thieves’ evolving methods, you can take proactive steps to safeguard your vehicle. Remember, knowledge is your best defence against car theft, and staying informed about the latest security measures and trends can help you protect your car and its contents effectively.

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