Let’s start with the headstart: 120 years.
Twelve decades to fix the problem of car theft, and where are we?
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, thieves stole 880,595 vehicles in the U.S. in 2020, up 10.9% from 2019.
Police departments around the country are overwhelmed by surging car thefts and burglaries.
And what advice do they give the communities they serve?
- Park your car in well-lit and safe areas.
- Lock your car doors and remove your keys from the vehicle.
- Don’t leave valuables where thieves can see them.
This advice has not deviated since the first Model T’s rolled out twelve decades ago.
- Why do we need to remove all valuables from our car every time we get out?
- What if we don’t have the luxury of always parking in a safe, well-lit area?
- And with thieves able to easily replicate chip keys, what does it matter if we lock the doors?
Automakers have nearly solved the problem of self-driving vehicles, but we can’t keep a thief from driving away?
Automakers Don’t Care About Security
Let’s start with the math.
Does a growing car theft problem help or hurt the profits of automakers?
In 2020, the average loss per stolen car was $9,160, according to the NICB.
That added up to more than $8,000,000,000 of insurance claims.
And with those insurance checks, what did people do?
They bought more cars, of course.
Nevertheless, $9,166 is a nice down payment on a new car, especially with interest rates at all-time lows.
And who pays for the losses incurred by insurance companies?
Future customers bear the brunt of skyrocketing premiums.
The automakers have done the math and don’t believe that added security features will sell enough new cars to make up for the stolen vehicle “windfall.”
The Bare Minimum in Security
The Michigan State Police recently notified the Detroit automakers of a severe breach in the security of their vehicles.
In a well-researched bulletin, the MSP spelled out how easy it is to steal vehicles.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig went as far as the contact Detroit’s Big 3 to ask for their help, “We need your help. The customers want your help. The insurance companies are asking for your help. Something needs to be done.”
With mounting pressure, here is how the Detroit automakers responded:
First, Stellantis (owner of Dodge) issued this statement:
We don’t discuss future product plans. Every Stellantis vehicle meets or exceeds all applicable federal safety standards. The previously announced supplement to vehicle security is consistent with our continuous pursuit of product improvement. The security and protection of our customers are unsurpassed priorities at Stellantis.
Then, Ford issued the following statement in response:
Ford has measures in place to mitigate this style of attack and as technology continues to advance and new threats arise, Ford’s cybersecurity measures are always evolving to provide customers with the highest level of safety and security possible. However, as a matter of policy, we typically do not comment on specific security-related actions.
And finally, from General Motors:
“General Motors is aware of the risk of vehicle theft via key programming mechanisms. Safety and security are priorities for us and our customers. Therefore, we continually strengthen our vehicle security measures and have included constraints in the process to deter key fob programming from being used as a theft method.”
In other words, we are doing only as much as the rest of the industry is willing to do or enough to meet federal standards.
To their customers, the message is clear: “You are on your own.”
An Aftermarket Filled With Stale Solutions
In November, the 2021 SEMA automotive show took place in Las Vegas, and Keep executives were onsite to scout the competition.
The show was a monster with 1,300+ booths and 51,000+ buyers on-hand to see the latest innovations in the automotive space.
Indeed with so much invested in this trade show, we would find unique technology that could dent the growing car theft problem.
We were wrong.
Security was notably absent from most of the five large sections of the show.
Scattered throughout were low-end vibrations sensors, various dashcams, tilt sensors, glass-break sensors, and various transmitters.
All of these products utilize technology that was available 20-30 years ago.
One of the biggest names in security, Viper paid for a large banner but didn’t bother to highlight its products.
We guess because their technology hasn’t changed much since the 1980s.
All of the solutions were incredibly narrow, typically with one feature easily defeated on its own by a criminal.
A thief will quickly toss a webcam out of the window. Vibration sensors are notorious for false alarms and are challenging to install. Steering wheel locks don’t stop break-ins.
Check out our blog post comparing the most popular car theft deterrents to help you understand the strengths and limitations.
So how do you protect your car?
Our Mission at Keep
We visited the SEMA show for inspiration and left confident that we were on the right track.
Our first device will provide all of the benefits of the best security products on the market.
“The Knight” deters thieves using our patented sensor system, which warns them to back away when they get too close to the door.
Should a criminal decide to open your door, an alarm as loud as an ambulance sounds and video starts to record.
The Knight anchors into the cupholder and cannot be ripped out and tossed out the window.
Should a thief attempt to ride away with the alarm sounding, our device is GPS-enabled and comes with professional monitoring to alert the authorities of the vehicle’s whereabouts.
Automakers aren’t solving this problem, and the aftermarket hasn’t innovated in years.
But we’ve got your back.
The first Knight devices ship this summer.
Stand up to crooks and join our crusade.
Your Keep Team
p.s. We are taking pre-orders now. Be one of the first to receive a Knight device by clicking here.