“Keyless entry” systems at fault in Hague-area auto theft surge

Navigation system stolen out of a car
Navigation system stolen out of a car. Photo: Politie

The Dutch police are calling on motorists who drive a car with a 'smart' key to deactivate their 'keyless entry' function following a series of incidents in which cars were broken into in The Hague area. The thieves were able to empty out the cars without having to break open a door or window. 

The 'keyless entry' function automatically unlocks the car when its key comes within its vicinity. 

In the Vogelwijk district in The Hague, four cars were broken into in this way last week. In three cases it involved a BMW. In Wassenaar, it happened five times in the month of January. These cases involved cars made by BMW and Mercedes. The thieves took off with airbags, onboard computers and navigation systems. Most thefts took place between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

All involved cars have a 'smart' key with a so-called 'keyless entry' system, or variant thereof. According tot he police, thieves are able to receive a smart key's signal from a few meters away - for example by standing outside the house the key is hanging in.

Car owners with smart keys are advised to deactivate the 'keyless entry' system. "Car dealers can deactivate this signal relatively easily reducing the risk of theft", the police said. 

The police deployed extra surveillance officers to the affected areas, and placed a few decoy cars in an attempt to find the thieves. 

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