Keyless Vehicle Theft

Living Magazines Hertfordshire Constabulary

Hertfordshire Police frequently receive reports from residents whose ‘keyless’ vehicles have been stolen. If your vehicle uses a vicinity key, this is their advice.

What is a vicinity key?

A vicinity key operates the vehicle to which it belongs using an automatic signal. You only have to be near to the vehicle for it to detect the key is present and unlock. The key (or signal) only has to be present to enable you to press a button to turn on the engine.

Keyless Theft: How it Works

This is where a vehicle is stolen without the thief having physical access to the key. Thieves use a signal boosting device which picks up and boosts the signal detected from your vicinity key to the vehicle, making your vehicle think the key is nearby. You can see such a device in action here.

Protect Your Vehicle

Keep vicinity keys in a signal blocking pouch which stops the signal from your key. You can source Police approved ‘Secured By Design’ signal blocking pouches here or on

  • Keep keys away from the front of your property; upstairs and hidden away is preferable.
  • Check your Manual or with your Dealer if it is possible to switch the key’s signal off.
  • For additional security, consider purchasing a steering wheel lock.
  • If your vehicle has an alarm or immobiliser, ensure these are enabled.
  • If your vehicle doesn’t have a Tracker, consider fitting one. A dual band tracking device works on VHF/UHF and GPS to ensure that one tracking system can still function if criminals use GPS blocking techniques to avoid detection. Purchase devices to ‘Thatcham’ and ‘SBD’ approval. Vehicles equipped with tracking devices are often promptly recovered. Check regularly for software updates for the car.

Police Contact Advice

  • Telephone 999 in an emergency where there is a danger to life or a crime is in progress.
  • Telephone 101 for non-emergencies where police attendance is required, to report a crime or to report any other incidents. Calls to 101 have a fixed cost of 15p per call.
  • Alternatively, visit to report a non-emergency crime online or chat to a police operator live via their web chat service.