That Ottawa Police reminds residents of it Thefts of Lexus and Toyota luxury SUVs and light trucks continue in Ottawa. Over 240 thefts have been reported so far this year. The trend is no longer limited to Lexus / Toyota products.
The stolen cars have been extended to include thefts of all makes and models of vehicles equipped with a proximity key (ie push button start). Newer models of Honda CRV, Grand Jeep Cherokee as well as Ford F-Series trucks (higher trim) have been targeted at thieves in Ottawa in August and September. As many as 46 incidents have so far been reported to the police.
Car thefts have also increased in the province of Quebec and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
In some cases, garbage bags were used to cover side mirrors and taillights to mask the perimeter lights during vehicle burglary. Thefts generally occur in two ways:
- The driver’s door is mechanically broken — at which point thieves gain access to the car’s engine control module (ECM) port to reprogram a new key. This is still the most common type of vehicle theft and is not deterred by the use of a radio frequency monitor (known as a ‘Faraday bag’).
- Signal Amplification Relay Attack (SARA) is not a common technique in Ottawa – however, police continue to raise public awareness of this device, with thieves using a amplification device to amplify the signal from the key fob inside the house. This signal is then forwarded to the car, which unlocks the vehicle and allows it to start. This type of theft will be deterred by the use of a radio frequency monitor (Faraday bag / box.)
Vehicle owners are encouraged to consider the following precautions:
- Park inside a garage, if available (in Ottawa, no vehicle was stolen from inside a garage);
- Block your vehicle close to another less coveted vehicle;
- Use a steering wheel lock (ie “Club”) to deter thieves (keep in mind that they can cut the steering wheel to remove it);
- Install a motor control module (ECM) door lock;
- Install an immobilizer and vehicle alarm;
- Install aftermarket tracking devices or “GPS” many of these have the ability to “fence in your car” and notify the owner’s smartphone if the car leaves the established perimeter;
- Install motion detection lights and exterior surveillance cameras at home – these can be a deterrent;
- Remember that thieves have returned to steal the replacement vehicle once a vehicle had been stolen, so beware;
- Neighborhood watch is still the best defense — so report any suspicious activity to the police immediately at 613-236-1222.
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