Reports from police forces and Government agencies say that more and more vehicles are stolen by thieves who use a key to start the engine. It will come as no surprise to motorhome insurers that thieves are finding a new way to steal, but the alarming rate by which these sort of crimes have increased in a short period of time is certainly worrying UK crime fighters. Government figures for 2010/11 show that 25 percent of stolen vehicles are taken using a key, an increase of 40 percent compared to 2005/6. 34 percent of thefts involved forcing the lock, 18 percent breaking the window and 14 percent helping themselves via an open door.
Of course it pays testimony to the hard work motor manufacturers have put in to try and improve vehicle security, electronic immobilisers and key recognition systems certainly did the trick for a while. Unfortunately thieves now realise that getting into a vehicle is no guarantee that they can drive it away and so have turned to housebreaking and key cloning to facilitate their crime. While key cloning is still the preserve of the more sophisticated thief who is on the lookout for top of the range cars, any motor thief near you is quite prepared to try your car door just in case your keys are still in the ignition; and move on to your front door just in case that is open too.
It is absolutely imperative that motorists make it tough for thieves, not least because your motorhome insurance may depend on it. Many insurance companies might be less inclined to pay out if the vehicle owner has made it easy for the thief. So, introducing extra security measures such as a wheel clamp or mechanical immobiliser will certainly deter the opportunist thief, and keeping to a ritual of locking your vehicle door and placing the keys in a secure place will put off the more determined criminal.