This article came across our feed from the local CBS news channel in San Diego. Although the statistics are local, the risk factor applies nationwide. Shaved keys are an easy way to steal cars. They are also easy to defend against with a vehicle immobilizer. Check out the article:
09-16-08 at 7:28PM
According to a recent survey, a vehicle is stolen ever 26 seconds in the United States. But one type of car is stolen more than any other, using what are called “shaved keys”. Protect your vehicle from one of the oldest car theft tricks.
A shaved key can fool an ignition switch, especially on older model Japanese cars.
“A lot of times they use those vehicles for short-term criminal activities,” San Diego County Regional Auto Theft Task Force Capt. Lisa Wrobel said.
Wrobel is the commander of the county’s auto theft task force, a 10-agency undercover operation trying to protect older model Honda Civics, Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys, last year’s top three most stolen cars, often swiped using shaved keys.
“It’s a key that is worn down on the sides, and it can fit into the lock without having to be the existing exact cut,” Wrobel said.
The best way to protect your car is to invest in a steering wheel lock, like The Club. Also, the simple stuff works, such as locking your doors, never leaving your car running unattended, and installing a kill switch.
“They are very economical, and when somebody gets in there and breaks into your vehicle, they can’t get the car started,” Wrobel said.
Even when a shaved key turns your ignition, with a kill switch, your car stays put.
“The crooks that we end up arresting from the task force, when we interview them, one of the things they say is if you try to make it a little more difficult for them to get in those vehicles, they are going to go on to something else,” Wrobel said.
Car theft detectives say getting the word out to protect your car seems to be working. So far this year, 2,000 fewer cars have been stolen compared to last year – a 15 percent drop.
According to the auto theft task force, most stolen cars are either shipped out of the country or stripped for parts.