How Vehicles Are Stolen in 6 Seconds, And How You Can Prevent It

A recent report from Which? has revealed just how vulnerable vehicles are when it comes to theft and break ins, and the results are very discouraging.  

The Sun have also conducted an investigation and their team found that by using a technique called ‘relay’, criminals can break into some key-less cars in less than 6 seconds.  

The ‘relay’ method is a high-tech technique that criminals use to replicate a key-less signal. Between two criminals, one will activate a signal (by simply trying the car door), while the other holds a legal device nearby which the signal bounces off towards the targeted Key fob. The cars fob will then react by sending a signal back, seamlessly opening the car door.  

The suns investigation team found a Moscow-based company selling ‘relay’ devices online, and The society of Motor &Traders told The Sun that they take Scanner thefts “extremely seriously” and that they are working with the UK Government, insurers and police forces closely to stop the sale of the legal equipment that actually has no legal purpose. The police say that they can only arrest somebody caught with a ‘relay’ device if they can prove intent to steal.  

Vehicle manufactures are each dealing with the issue at their own pace. Ford is saying that they will be introducing a fob sleep mode which will activate if the fob has been still for more than 40 seconds, Skonda have claimed that they are developing a similar system, and others such as Volkswagen, Nissan and Volvo all saying that they’re making a effort to improve vehicle security.  

And while this method of car theft is quick, quiet and often inconspicuous, the risk is not limited to just cars—vans are just as, if not more so, at risk of a targeted attack.  

In March 2018, Commercial Fleet reported data from Tracker which painted an extremely bleak picture for van owners too.  In 2017, 82 percent of vans were stolen without the need for a keys. This  statistic is up 44 percent form 2016, and Commercial Fleet said commented that Ford Transit Vans were the most targeted. This could be due to the common keeping of expensive work tools in the back of vans, with the cost of replacing tools being called out as a huge burden following a vehicle theft.  

To ensure van and tool protection there are some very simple methods that can be implemented straightway to minimize the risk of theft, such as marking your tools so you can be identified as the owner,  keeping your keys stored away from the perimeter of a building overnight and in a metal key box–which in turn may block the signal of any trying criminal using a relay device. Also, perhaps think about installing a steering lock, blocking the doors to the vehicle when parked and taking out tool Insurance. 

These are all basic security measures, but for those serious about keeping criminal activity at bay, there are more advanced measures that can be put in place such as:  

  • Installing an on board CCTV system that provides mobile alerts if motion is detectedBadly lit and large car parks can attract thieves and vandals who think they won’t be seen. CCTV Cameras can act as a visual deterrent to opportunist criminals. 


  • Installing a tracking device, so a mobile vehicle will always be seen. Stolen vehicles can also be tracked using DSS-M software and potentially help police to recover the vehicle. 

For both of these systems,  the most reliable system to use is DAHUA Mobile Solutions, whose systems are designed and tested to for reliability when installed in harsh vehicle environments.

Features of DAHUA Mobile Solutions include:

  • Anti Vibration
    When a vehicle is running on the road, on board shock and vibration are the main causes of HDD damage and video footage loss. Dahua mobile devices comply with ISO16750-3 and EN50155 to protect the system from electrical surge and vibration.

  • G-Sensor
    Built in G-sensor can record acceleration, heavy braking and sharp changes in direction.

  • Temperature Protection
    Dahua mobile products are designed to work in heat conditions of between -30° and +60° in the vehicle.

  • 3G/4G
    Embedded with a 3G/4G module, this means that the device will be able to connect to any public network available. The device will then be able to back up data and send any information collated, such as; video/audio recordings, any alarms sounded and locations (GPS) to the control center.

  • CAN Bus
    With CAN ports it enables the recorder to connect to various accessories such as; card readers, fuel sensors and panic buttons.

  • EN50155
    EN50155 is an European standard for railway applications. The mobile camera meets these requirements of EN50155, making the camera able to withstand tough weather conditions, vibrations, shocks and other harsh vehicle environments.

  • Environment
    With a temperature range of -40° to +70°, the camera is designed for extreme temperature environments. The camera complies to an IK10 impact rating making it capable of withstanding the equivalent of 55kg of force.

  • Audio
    The camera is designed with a built in mic used for audio collection and transmission over the aviation connector cable. The HDCVI audio compression technology ensures the synchronization of audio and video.

  • Wide Angle
    The Dahua HDCVI mobile camera is designed for front surveillance which mounts on the vehicles front windshield. Therefore it has been fitted with a wide angle feature, reaching up to 116°, to capture recordings from all angles.

  • Power off Protection
    Built in super-capacitor enables shut down, avoiding data loss due to power loss. It enables the units to keep working for 5 seconds after the power is off. This also helps to extend the hard disk lifespan.

  • Water and Dust Resistant
    Selected Dahua cameras are IP69K rated, offering water and dust resistance.

  • Smart Scene Adaptive
    Dahua unique image processing technology makes the camera adjust to different light conditions automatically.

  • WDR
    The WDR function is extremely useful in vehicle doors and spaces near windows to get clear enough images. Up to 120dB Wide Dynamic Range to capture an optimized image quality even in high contrast, bright environment.


Have you experienced vehicle theft? And would you like to share your story to help others? If so, get in touch today