The Ontario Provincial Police is warning owners of newer model pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) to be aware that groups of organized criminals are targeting these vehicles in thefts across the province.
The criminals may scout a neighbourhood days beforehand, recording vehicle identification numbers (VIN), searching for alarm systems, and identifying vehicles to steal. The criminals will then return under the cover of darkness, often committing the thefts during evening and early morning hours.
The current tools being used are high-tech and can circumvent the existing anti-theft technologies on vehicles in a very short amount of time. Thieves may amplify or copy the frequency of the key fob, which are usually left by the front door, start your vehicle, and drive away.
By being aware and following a few crime prevention tips, vehicle owners can reduce their chances of becoming a victim:
· Report suspicious activity in your neighbourhood.
· Park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
· Place your keys in a “faraday bag” and do not store them by your front door or in front of windows. This bag will isolate your fob’s signal and prevent its frequency from being copied or amplified.
· If you have access to a garage, park your vehicle indoors.
· Consider installing a security camera at your residence. This can alert you, often in real time, to suspicious activity occurring on your property.
· A steering wheel lock, such as “The Club,” can make your vehicle a less desirable target.
· Install a secondary audible alarm. These alarms can alert you or your neighbours to suspicious activity or attempted threats on your property.
· Use temporary means to cover the VIN displayed on the front windshield of your vehicle. Do not alter it or modify it.
· Store your vehicle ownership, proof of insurance, and any other sensitive documents in your wallet or purse, not your glove box.