Fleets need to do more to deter criminals employing high-tech methods who are behind a 25% year-on-year increase* in car thefts, says FleetCheck.

Peter Golding, managing director at the fleet management software company, pointed out that awareness of how to stop methods such as relay thefts and key blocking remained patchy among vehicle operators.

“Feedback from our client base indicates that fleets often know thefts are an increasing problem but while some are being very proactive, others are poorly informed about the methods that thieves are now using and how to deter them.

“We’d like to see much more of an acknowledgment that this is becoming a genuine issue and agreement on best practise that can help to stop company cars and vans being stolen.”

Peter added that many of the most effective methods of protection against high-tech car theft were relatively simply and inexpensive.

“In the case of relay theft, it can be an issue of putting the key into ‘sleep’ mode, which some models allow, or placing it inside a Faraday wallet to disrupt the signal, something that costs just a few pounds.

“Interestingly, some security experts recommend meeting the high-tech approach of the thieves with pretty low-tech responses. If someone is creeping onto your drive armed with a laptop, then an old-fashioned steering lock stands a good chance of deterring them.”

He added that fleets both needed to brief drivers about the potential for high-tech theft and explain what is needed from them in terms of protection.

“This is an area of fleet management where driver buy-in is crucial but can be difficult to generate. For company car and van drivers, a car theft can be seen as an inconvenience rather than a major worry and employers need to make it clear that they expect certain measures to be met, such as where vehicles are parked and keys kept, for example.”

*Office for National Statistics, May 2023