Preventing Car Theft: A How To

In 2020, there were 52.2 cases of private car theft per 100,000 residents in Ireland. While the number has dropped over the years, with the average annual car theft cases numbering 11,000 back in 2008, it’s still a concern. 

Thankfully most cars get recovered quickly, but some cars never make it back to their owners or come back as burnt-out shells. As the Ireland National Police and Security Service indicates, as many as 2000 vehicles are never recovered. Such cars are either dismantled for parts or sold to unsuspecting buyers who fall victim to fake car documents. 

Even if you have insurance, you don’t want to experience reporting a stolen car, going to the police and filling out forms with the insurance company, not to mention the emotional and mental trauma you must endure. But car theft is preventable with some simple measures.

This article focuses on preventing car theft and how you can leverage your car’s security systems. 

Types of Car Theft

It’s important to understand that there are various types of car thefts. Sometimes, your actual car might not get stolen, but a component or bag inside it might. Knowing the differences between these types of car theft incidents can be helpful if you ever have to file a complaint.

Here are the different types of car theft:

Theft of Car/Keys

In some cases, the car is stolen with the keys. Typically, the keys are stolen from the home, bag, pocket, etc. The culprit then uses the keys to get into the car and drive away. 

Theft of Car Without Keys (Keyless Car Theft)

This is a way of stealing cars without using the keys, as the name suggests. This is more common with modern cars that have keyless entry. Gone are the days of being able to hot-wire a car without the keys. In this type of car theft, the culprit uses a special device to unlock the car and drive it away. This is often in the form of a relay device. Which boosts your keys signal from just inside the door of your house. Once they drive away and turn the ignition back off they won’t be able to turn it back on again without the key. The thief will drive your car away and dismantle it in a hidden location, selling just the parts which can’t be traced back to your car. 

By bypassing the ignition lock, cars with traditional key ignition can also be stolen without using keys. 

Theft of Car Parts

Another common type of car theft is car part theft. In such scenarios, the criminal may steal a part of the car, for example, a catalytic converter, portable GPS, side mirrors, stereo systems, battery, etc. The criminals then sell just the parts.

Theft of Goods Inside the Car

In this type of car theft, the actual car or its components are not stolen; instead, goods inside the car are stolen. This typically happens when the car doors are left open, or windows are down with no one in the car. The thief may also break into the car to steal something valuable from inside it, especially if the valuable has been left in plain sight inside the car. We would recommend putting any bags in the boot when you get out of the car.  


Carjacking involves stealing a car with the driver/passenger still in it. This is a frightening scenario for anyone but fortunately isn’t that common. It’s more common for a thief to steal the bag on your lap than the car you’re driving. Lock your doors while slowly in the city or stuck in traffic just to be on the safe side.

Can Electric Cars Be Stolen?

Electric cars with keyless start or push-button start are just as easy to steal as petrol cars with the same technology.

Are Some Cars Safer from Theft Than Others?

Newest cars are the safest from theft as they come packed with the latest theft prevention tech. For example, although keyless entry vehicles are susceptible to theft without a key, some manufacturers use cutting-edge technology to track car systems and movements. Some can even tell when a relay device is used to stop this tactic.

For instance, the Land Rover Discovery uses ultra-wideband radio technology that relay devices cannot pick. Similarly, Tesla uses a sophisticated tracking system with a mobile app that can notify the owner and Tesla as soon as the tracking system is disconnected. 

Tips to Prevent Car Theft

No matter how advanced your car’s security system is, it’s still a good idea to take precautionary steps to prevent theft of the car, its parts, or the goods inside it. Here are some tips:

Keep Key Away from Car, Doors, or Windows

When you’re at home, keep your car key or any spare keys away from the doors or windows of your home. This would help prevent the thieves from using relay devices to capture the signal from the fob.

Use a Signal-Blocking Pouch for the Key

An even better approach to prevent the manipulation of signals from the fob is to keep it in a signal-blocking pouch. For instance, Faraday bags are pouches lined with material that blocks the signals from the fob. These are easy to pick up on amazon, just search for signal blocking pouches or Faraday bags. 

Use Audible Car Alarm or Anti-Theft Device (Steering Wheel Lock)

Install one if your car doesn’t have a built-in anti-theft car alarm. The alarm will produce a recurring loud sound when someone tries to break into the vehicle. The loud sound will deter them from stealing and notify people nearby. 

Similarly, anti-theft devices for cars like a steering wheel lock can also come in handy for preventing thefts. Even if the perpetrator breaks in, they will still need to unlock the steering wheel lock. 

Park Near Home or in the Garage at Night

If you live in a home with a garage, it’s best to use it for parking the car overnight. If you don’t have a garage, park the car close to your home and not out on an unmonitored busy public road. 

Double Check the Doors and Windows

Make it a habit to check the doors and windows of the car after locking it. More often than not, it’s the cars that are left unlocked by mistake that get stolen. 

Wrap Up 

Car thefts can result in financial and emotional damage, but they can be prevented with just a few precautions. As keyless entry is becoming incredibly important, it’s important to take appropriate steps by protecting the key fob and locking the car properly. 

Also, never leave valuables on display in the car, as those are most susceptible to theft. 

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