signal jamming

Car crime remains a prevalent concern in many cities worldwide, and Manchester here in the UK, is no exception.

Following on from a recent blog (linked here) in which we looked at three car crime hotspots in the UK and how they impact those who live and work there, we wanted to delve into those areas in more detail, starting with Manchester.

Despite advancements in vehicle security technology, symbolised by the amazing trackers we sell, criminals continuously adapt their methods to exploit vulnerabilities. It’s a never-ending game of cat-and-mouse and never more prevalent than in large cities like Greater Manchester.

This area and the police force that covers it, are not just limited to the city centre; it also covers large towns like Bolton, Stockport and Rochdale, along with several surrounding smaller suburbs and villages.

The worst district, at least by postcode, is M2 but this includes shopping areas, the Manchester Central Convention Complex (formerly known as the GMEX) and hotel districts, with theft from a motor vehicle representing half of all offences committed here.

As would might expect, car crime drops considerably as you move away from the city centre into the suburbs, with cars parked in the M1 postcode being almost twice as safe as those parked in the city centre but still at a high risk. You’d have to be in M33 to tangibly limit your risk.

Whilst it might seem counter-intuitive, these stats confirm the notion that criminals always prefer the anonymity of bustling shopping districts compared to the quieter suburbs where they might be more noticeable. Hiding in plain sight you might say.

In this article, we delve into the current landscape of car crime in Manchester, exploring recent statistics, common theft techniques employed by thieves and, more importantly, effective preventive measures.

Understanding the Scope

According to recent reports by Greater Manchester Police (GMP), car crime remains a significant issue in the region. Moreover, incidents such as vandalism, break-ins and theft from vehicles contribute to the overall concern regarding vehicle security.

As we’ve previously shown, the city of Manchester has one of the highest rates of car crime in the UK (per 10,000 registered vehicles). In real terms, this means that 3 out of every 10 vehicles are subjected to some form of attack. Hopefully, you’re not one of them.

Methods Employed by Car Thieves

Car thieves employ various tactics ranging from traditional low-fi methods to far more sophisticated techniques. Some of the common strategies include:

Keyless Entry Theft: With the rise of keyless entry systems in almost all modern cars, criminals have adapted by using relay devices to intercept the signals between key fobs and vehicles. By amplifying the key’s signal, thieves can unlock and start vehicles without needing physical access to the keys themselves. You might think they’re safe in your house or bag, but think again.

Jamming Signals: Thieves can also use signal jamming devices to disrupt remote locking systems, preventing owners from properly securing their vehicles. This technique is often employed in crowded areas such as parking lots, where owners may not even notice the failed locking signal.

Lock Picking and Key Cloning: Traditional methods like lock picking and key cloning are still prevalent, especially among more opportunistic thieves. By gaining physical access to the vehicle, criminals can bypass security systems and create duplicates of keys for future thefts.

Towing: Old school for sure, but in some cases, thieves still resort to towing vehicles away to secluded locations where they can dismantle or sell them for parts. Something much more common in larger cities with a steady supply of victims. This method is more common for larger vehicles or those parked in isolated areas. Don’t think that just because you don’t have a luxury or high-end car you’re safe. Thieves looking to steal cars for parts focus on the more ‘everyday’ car because they know the supply for parts is much larger.

Preventive Measures: Safeguarding Your Vehicle

While car crime hotspots like Manchester pose a persistent threat, there are several proactive measures you can take to minimise the risk of theft:

Invest in Security Technology: Consider installing additional security features such as steering wheel locks, wheel clamps, and immobilisers to deter thieves. High-quality alarm systems with motion sensors and GPS tracking capabilities can also help in recovering stolen vehicles. We have a wide range of these right here in our store.

Secure Parking: Where possible, park your vehicle in well-lit, populated areas. Utilise secure parking facilities with CCTV surveillance and manned patrols to reduce the likelihood of theft.

Key Management: Be vigilant with your key fob and avoid leaving it unattended or visible near entry points. Store keys in a secure location within your home to prevent unauthorised access.

Signal Blocking Devices: To combat relay attacks, consider using signal-blocking pouches (like a Faraday case) or cases to shield key fobs from potential interception. These inexpensive accessories can effectively prevent unauthorised access to your vehicle’s entry system.

Regular Maintenance: Keep your vehicle well-maintained to ensure all security features are functioning correctly. Check for any signs of tampering or attempted theft, such as scratches around the locks or dashboard.

Community Vigilance: Stay informed about car crime trends in your area, no matter where you live, and communicate with neighbours to share information and raise awareness. Reporting suspicious activities to the authorities can help prevent future incidents.

Insurance Coverage: Review your insurance policy to ensure adequate coverage against theft and vandalism. Consider adding comprehensive coverage to protect your vehicle in case of theft or damage. We have a range of insurance-approved trackers right here.

There’s no denying that car crime remains a significant concern for motorists in Manchester and across the UK with thieves employing various tactics to steal your vehicles but by understanding the current landscape of car crime and implementing preventive measures, we can help you effectively safeguard your vehicles against theft and vandalism.

By investing in security technology like the incredible trackers in our store, but also practising good key management and staying vigilant, we can all reduce the risk of falling victim to car crime and enjoy peace of mind on the roads of Manchester and further afield.

If you need any help with choosing the right tracker for your car, van, motorbike, motorhome or trailer, please get in touch with our dedicated Customer Support team. They are available between 9 am – 6 pm, Monday to Friday, on 0330 043 3993 and will be more than happy to assist you no matter where you live. Remember, UK-wide installations is available at a time and place to suit you.

It’s fair to say, no matter what aspect of life you’re looking at, the technology we use every day has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. This is especially true when it comes to car security.

Whilst the old-school security measures of steering wheel locks, gearstick brackets or wheel boots were once de-rigour for every motorist wanting to protect their vehicle, the high-tech world we live in means that they simply aren’t enough on their own anymore against a determined car thief.

The most up-to-date cars possess technology that enhances the driving experience that would seem like witchcraft just a couple of decades ago. With every ground-breaking automotive advancement we make, the cat-and-mouse nature of security means that there’s always a workaround or loophole they can exploit.

Nothing exemplifies this more than the car tracker.

HOW TRACKING SIGNALS WORK

Vehicle trackers, like every other product on the market, come with a variety of features that their manufacturer hopes will make their product stand out in an ever-more crowded marketplace. Dedicated smartphone apps, control centre support and notifications are commonplace but they also share the need for a signal/connection to make these features a reality.

Depending on which tracking system you buy, it will be able to operate using one, or more, frequencies to help triangulate its position, by working out how long the signal takes to be sent,  received and returned by different satellites in orbit above the Earth.

WHAT FREQUENCIES ARE UTILISED

Across the range of vehicle trackers we sell here at Infiniti, if you look at the specifications of many of them, you’ll see that all of them will use GPS (Global Positioning System). GPS is just one frequency on which their signal is broadcast. Think of it as the baseline.

All GPS satellites broadcast on at least two carrier frequencies. These are ‘L1’ which operates at 1575.42 MHz and ‘L2’ at 1227.6 MHz. It’s also worth noting that newer GPS satellites also broadcast on L5 at 1176 MHz. Unfortunately, these frequencies can be blocked with the right equipment.

Ideally, you want a tracker that doesn’t just rely on one signal, but instead can harness the power, and therefore reliability and accuracy, of multiple networks. Even if one if blocked, the others will still work.

These can include GLONASS, Galileo, LBS, GSM and VHF. All of which can, given the right tools, still be blocked, with the exception of the final one; VHF or Very High Frequency. The reason it can’t be blocked is simply that it’s undetectable. It’s for that reason it’s the signal chosen by military operations across the world.

WHAT DOES INSURANCE-APPROVED MEAN?

If, as part of your car insurance policy, the company has asked for the vehicle in question to have an ‘insurance approved’ tracking system installed, then it can be confusing as to what this actually means. In reality, it often means that the tracker they require installing needs to detect any tampering.

This is often standard and can easily be measured thanks to its dedicated smartphone app. This will help monitor and alert you to any attempts to tamper with the vehicle. Whilst the reality is that GPS or GSM signals can be blocked, devices like the Protect and Connect S5 from Vodafone Automotive or the S5+ and Locate systems from Tracker can alert you when there is an attempt to block those signals.

With every system sold by Infiniti Tracking you will:

 Find professional, courteous help and advice to find the right tracking for you.

 Be sure to have your device fitted wherever you are in the UK by our team of dedicated trained engineers.

Get peace of mind that you’re dealing with experts in the industry.

Whilst the sheer range of products on offer can be daunting, we are here to help you find the right system for you. We know how much you value your car and we respect that it can be daunting to find the right one, so our team are available to you from 9 am – 6 pm, Monday to Friday on 0330 043 3993 to help, so just ask!

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