Study

New Theft Wave Targets Coffee Shop Customers, 57,000 Cars Stolen

Over 57,096 of these thefts happened last year, sad given how easy they are to avoid.

Now that automakers have spent decades adding new anti-theft measures to their vehicles, it seems that the image of the man in a ski mask crouching by the door of a Mercedes with a crowbar and a lock pick are long gone. Thanks to the sophistication of keyless entry systems, thieves have had to resort to a new means to get inside a car: swiping the keys when the owner isn’t watching. According to a study conducted by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, these sorts of thefts are on the rise.

Like the increasingly complex systems automakers use to prevent theft, robbers must now resort to high tech means to steal high-end cars. However owner negligence is still an issue since no matter how good an anti-theft system is, it does nothing if the owner fails to activate it or leaves the keys lying around for just a minute while they run inside for something. Just last year, a car was stolen using the car’s original keys once every six and a half minutes, a rise of over 31 percent since 2013. Unfortunately, the real number of times that these sorts of thefts happen may actually be larger since humiliated owners don’t like to fess up to making such a stupid mistake.

The best way for owners to avoid getting their rides stolen right out from under them is to be mindful of and prevent complacency. That means no running inside while the car is warming up, no leaving the keys on the table at a cafe while getting up for a refill, and keeping proximity keys in a pocket to avoid forgetting them in the car. The NICB also recommends that owners take a picture of registration and insurance information on their phones and leave the physical paperwork at home. This is because some thieves have gone as far as to swipe a car from the coffee shop, find the owner’s address on the registration, and burglarize the home before the owner knows what hit them. Stay woke out there.

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