Free anti-car theft tools coming for Brampton drivers


Published February 1, 2023 at 12:50 pm

A new pilot program could crack down on stolen cars in Brampton by giving residents a free tool to help safeguard their vehicles against high-tech thieves.

The City of Brampton is rolling out a program to give thousands of free Faraday bags to car owners in Brampton. The bags block the radio signal from vehicle key FOBs, helping prevent would-be car thieves from copying your key and stealing your ride in what police are calling “relay thefts.”

The three–month pilot program will see thousands of signal-blocking bags distributed to drivers in five of the city’s auto theft hot spots.
Depending on the results of the pilot, the program could be expanded to include other parts of the city.

The program was proposed by Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown at a committee of council meeting on Wednesday (Feb. 01) and passed unanimously. The motion will go to council next week for approval and, if passed, could see the signal-blocking bags distributed for free “as quickly as possible.”

“A Faraday bag is a $6 item that can protect a $60,000 car from being stolen in less than 60 seconds,” Mayor Brown said of the signal-blocking pouches.

Brown said he’s heard growing complaints and concerns around auto theft from residents, and that the Faraday bag program will help reduce the “vulnerability of keyless lock and keyless ignition FOB technology.”

Three members of Brampton City Council have been victims of auto theft, including Coun. Dennis Keenan, whose vehicle was stolen just this past weekend. Keenan said Peel Regional Police were able to recover the vehicle thanks to tips from the community and tracking technology.

Brown said the Faraday pouches are only one part of the City’s campaign to combat auto thefts, including bringing concerns to manufacturers and the Canadian Boarder Services Agency (CBSA).

Recent data from Peel Regional Police shows a 92 per cent spike in auto thefts last year compared to 2019, with 5,811 auto thefts in Peel Region in 2022. There were 95 cars stolen in Mississauga and Brampton in just the first week of 2023 alone with approximately 600 vehicles were stolen since the start of the year.

Police are also investigating a large number of stolen vehicles from Ontario being shipped overseas and sold in used car lots, but the cost of shipping stolen vehicles back to their rightful owners in Canada is a significant roadblock for investigators.

Brown said the number of auto thefts in Brampton is “a major contributing cause of high insurance premiums” in Brampton and accounts for millions of dollars in financial loss for residents.

Residents can help protect their vehicles by taking any of the following crime-prevention measures:

  • Ensure your vehicle keys are kept well away from doors and windows
  • Use a signal blocking pouch/box – they can block your key fob from transmitting its code to the vehicle as the pouch is lined with layers or metallic material
  • Turn off the keyless fob wireless signal at night (refer to your car manual for instructions)
  • Use a steering wheel lock or car alarm – this could add a significantly delay or be a deterrent for thieves
  • Consider a secondary audible car alarm – which works by using sensors placed in different points of your vehicle
  • Park in the garage (if possible)
  • Insert a car tracker – unusual activity is monitored, and car can be tracked using GPS if stolen
  • Always roll up your vehicle’s windows, lock the doors and pocket the key
  • If you have a garage, use it and lock the door as well as your vehicle
  • Park other vehicles behind your high-value vehicle to act as a deterrent to thieves
  • Install an aftermarket anti-theft device in your vehicle in a location not easily visible
  • Install a third-party GPS tracking device in the vehicle
  • Keep your vehicle key fobs in a Faraday Box
  • Never leave your vehicle unattended while it is running
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