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Summertime – is theft time!

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Summertime and the picking is easy! We have heard from several people who have fallen victim to thieves in the previous weeks. It seems that with summer, thieves see a lot more opportunity to steal and break into homes and cars. It is important to remain vigilant especially in light of some of the sophisticated tools being used.

There is a new jamming tool that allows thieves to prevent your attempt to lock your car electronically.

These keys use radio waves to communicate with a receiver inside the car. The key sends a signal to the car with a unique identifier and a command to either lock or unlock the car. But the wireless communication, like any other radio usage, can be jammed. A device can be used to flood the radio spectrum used by the keys with interference, which stops the low-power system of the remote car keys from working. Many cars that use radio keys no longer have separate key locks for manual operation, so the jammer can stop a driver from either locking or unlocking their car using their key. As long as the owner doesn’t realise what’s going on, car thieves then have potentially a field of open cars to plunder.

There is a  gang currently operating in Luzern, Kriens and Horw using this tool, so be doubly sure that you hear your car beeping or your lights flashing when you lock it, if not you are making it very easy for thieves to just open your car door and rampage through the car for goods to steal. The police has asked that anyone seeing any suspicious cars in the neighbourhood to let them know by calling 117.

Be sure to lock your bikes and your bike sheds. It is incredible how many bikes get stolen in Luzern. You can read a recent account here.

When you go to the Lido and Ufschütti don’t take valuables, and be sure to keep an eye on your bag when you go for a dip. This is an area where thieves particularly like to operate.

If you go to a restaurant and sit outdoors, be sure to hook your bag on your knee or keep it on your lap, thieves are know to use long hooks to deftly steal your bag without you noticing it, (that one happened to me).

Do not leave windows open in your apartment or home (even if you live on a higher floor, thieves will find a way in).

If you are going away on vacation, either organise a house sitter or put a timer on a light so it looks like someone is living in your home. Let a trustworthy neighbour know so they can keep an eye out for unusual activity in your home.

Beware on trains, make sure you stow your luggage within view, if necessary get up at stops to make sure it doesn’t “disappear”. You can usually stow smaller cases between seats.

Obviously we are not calling for full blown out paranoia, but be sure to keep your wits about you.

charlie.hartmann@livinginluzern.info