The Brantford Police Service are issuing an auto theft awareness reminder to the public regarding a vehicle theft trend previously reported in the City of Brantford.
This trend, while only one method utilized by criminals to steal vehicles, is known as “Relay and Reprogramming” technology. In an effort to increase awareness to help make vehicles more secure and less attractive to thieves, we are issuing a reminder.
Reports indicate that the vehicles targeted by relay and reprogramming technology are newer model, high-end vehicles with keyless entry and push start technology. The thefts typically occur in the overnight hours.
While not all motor vehicle thefts occur using this technology, by increasing awareness, it is the goal of BPS to reduce vehicle thefts. In 2022, 321 vehicles were reported as stolen to the Brantford Police Service. 279 vehicles have been reported stolen to date in 2023.
How does relay vehicle theft work?
The suspect will approach a residence and use technology to find a key fob signal from inside a residence. The technology allows the suspects to remain outside the residence to amplify and transfer the key fob signal in order to unlock, start and steal the vehicle. The theft of the vehicle will typically be undetected until the morning when the owner discovers their vehicle has been stolen and they are still in possession of their key fob.
How does reprogramming vehicle theft work?
The suspects will approach the vehicle and force entry inside. Once inside the vehicle an electronic device is used to access the vehicles diagnostics. The suspects then reprogram a blank key fob so the vehicle can be started and steal the vehicle.
How to protect your vehicle from theft?
- Park your vehicle inside a locked and secure garage.
- Block the access to the onboard diagnostic port to prevent thieves from reprograming the vehicle’s key fob. (A simple device can be purchased online).
- Use a steering wheel locking device to deter theft.
- Place the vehicle key fob inside a radio frequency shielding bag/pouch to block cell signals when not in use. Inside your residence and in a purse or pocket.
- Consider equipping your vehicle with an aftermarket global positioning system (GPS) tracker. The tracker may assist police in locating the vehicle and/or suspects.
- Ensure all keys are accounted for and never left in the vehicle or unattended.
- Lock your vehicle at all times.
- Never leave your vehicle running and unattended.
- Consider purchasing a surveillance system and ensure the quality and function will capture any suspicious activity for a 24-hour period.
If you observe suspicious people in your neighborhood, looking into vehicles, we encourage you to report this to police immediately. Doing so will assist investigators to track patterns of criminal behavior and potentially identify suspects.
A crime in-progress can be reported by calling 9-1-1. Any non-emergency incidents can be reported on-line at Brantfordpolice.ca or by calling 519-756-7050.
Additionally, information can be provided anonymously to Brantford Crime Stoppers by calling 519-750-8477 or 1-800-222-8477 or by submitting a web tip online at: https://www.crimestoppersbb.com/submit-a-tip/