The Dilemma of Car Theft in the U.S.
A Disturbing Trend: Nissan Altima Tops the List
The issue of car theft continues to plague the United States, costing both motorists and insurers a staggering $6 billion annually. In 2017, there was a 1 percent increase in car thefts, with 773,139 vehicles stolen despite advancements in anti-theft technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the FBI, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau provided the data, shedding light on the most stolen car models.
The Notorious Culprits: Honda Civics and Accords
Older Honda Civics hold the unfortunate distinction of being the most likely targets for thieves, with over 45,000 stolen annually. However, the focus is shifting to newer models, with the Nissan Altima emerging as the most-favored new car model for theft. The Altima saw a 9 percent increase in thefts in 2017, making it a dubious leader in the realm of stolen vehicles.
Unraveling the Nissan Altima Mystery
A Technological Conundrum
The rise of Nissan Altima thefts is perplexing, considering the car’s reputation as an intelligent, all-wheel vehicle. Despite an array of anti-theft devices, thieves seem undeterred. The question arises: Why is the Nissan Altima the most stolen new car in the United States?
The Vulnerability of Keyless Systems
One alarming revelation points to the vulnerability of the Nissan Altima’s keyless lock and ignition system. Thieves exploit a method known as a “Relay Attack,” using a smart device to amplify and transmit signals, ultimately bypassing the car’s security. This sophisticated technique raises concerns about the effectiveness of current anti-theft measures.
The “Relay Attack” Phenomenon
The FBI acknowledges the existence of this “mystery device,” revealing its ability to trick keyless sensor technology. This method, sold online for $600 to $700, allows thieves to unlock and start vehicles with relative ease, leaving owners unaware of the crime until it’s too late.
High-Risk Locations: Alaska Takes the Lead
While car theft is a nationwide concern, Alaska has emerged as a hotspot, experiencing a 40 percent increase in thefts between 2016 and 2017. The alarming trend has prompted residents to become “vigilante car theft investigators” as they grapple with the escalating problem.
City Spotlight: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Among U.S. cities, Albuquerque, New Mexico, has the unfortunate distinction of having the highest rate of stolen cars for two consecutive years. Anchorage, Alaska, follows closely as the runner-up.
Safeguarding Your Vehicle: A Necessity
As the battle between car manufacturers and thieves persists, vehicle owners must take proactive measures to protect their assets. Understanding the methods employed by thieves sheds light on effective preventive strategies.
Protecting Your Car: A Strategic Approach
Mind of a Thief: How to Deter Criminals
To thwart potential theft, vehicle owners should adopt a strategic mindset similar to that of a thief. Simple yet effective measures, such as taking keys, parking in well-lit areas, and using steering wheel locks, can significantly deter criminals.
Keyless Entry Dilemma: Tips for Safety
For owners of vehicles with keyless entry systems, extra precautions are necessary. Using GPS tracking devices and Faraday containers for key fobs can render the “Relay Attack” method ineffective.
The Ultimate Defense: Kill Switch
Considered one of the most advanced anti-theft devices, the kill switch disrupts critical systems needed to start the engine. Installing multiple hidden kill switches with a specific activation sequence provides an additional layer of protection, making it extremely challenging for thieves to bypass these security measures.