INSURERS are seeing twice as many cars stolen with a common technology that many cars have.
It's also thought that thieves are becoming increasingly confident as winter draws in.
Home Office figures show 108,542 vehicles were stolen between April 2021 and March 2022 in England and Wales.
That's the equivalent of 279 thefts each day and represents a 22% increase from the previous year.
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Separate data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that keyless entry was the most common method of access for vehicle thefts in England and Wales in 2020.
That's a jump from 13% the previous year to 36% of all incidents.
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The same data also showed that thieves are most likely to strike after dark, but that daytime thefts were becoming more common.
Alec Reeder from Aviva General Insurance who analysed the data, said: “While vehicle security has developed and improved in many ways, unfortunately, criminal activity is evolving too.
"Over the past two years, we’ve found claims for stolen keyless vehicles are twice as likely as those for non-keyless vehicles.
“While theft claims account for only a small proportion of our vehicle claims overall, we understand that a stolen car can be very distressing for owners.
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"We’d encourage people to take extra precautions, particularly at this time of year, when thieves have the added advantage of reduced daylight.”
Reeder also offered advice to motorists to combat the rise in keyless entry theft.
He continued: "Seemingly old-fashioned mechanical devices – such as a steering wheel or foot pedal lock – can be a useful visible deterrent, encouraging thieves to think twice.
"Other steps include using a signal-blocking pouch for keys, or parking in a garage or secure area where possible.
"Cars really can be gone in 60 seconds, so it’s vital that motorists stay one step ahead of the criminals.”
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