Free signal-blocking pouches could be coming to thousands in Brampton amid rise in auto thefts
Thousands of Brampton residents could soon be getting free pouches that could help fend off car thieves looking to exploit a radio frequency that comes from key FOBs, under a proposal by Mayor Patrick Brown.
The proposal would see the city distribute free Faraday bags to car owners in five areas of Brampton at a time when auto thefts are on the rise in the city and in much of the Greater Toronto Area.
A Faraday case is a signal-blocking tool that's relatively inexpensive and can help prevent cars from being stolen in what's known as a relay attack.
With keyless ignition an increasingly popular feature in newer vehicles, thieves can read the radio frequency of key FOBs in your house and relay that frequency to a car on your driveway. That can trick the car into thinking you're nearby or inside with your key and can allow thieves to drive away, all in less than 60 seconds, according to city news release on the proposal.
"Auto theft represents hundreds of millions of dollars of financial loss to Brampton residents and is a major contributing cause of high insurance premiums," Brown said in the release.
The proposal comes after new numbers from Peel Regional Police showing a 92 per cent rise in auto thefts last year compared to 2019. There were 5,811 reported auto thefts in Peel Region in 2022, up from 3,119 in 2019, the release says.
Brown said in a news conference Thursday that the city will look to police to identify the hardest-hit parts of Brampton for the pilot project, but that if successful, it could be expanded across the city.
Still, he said, the move is a "bandage, temporary" solution and that more needs to be done at all levels of government and by manufacturers to curb the problem.
The proposal is being presented at a city committee meeting Wednesday and if passed, will be confirmed at a city council meeting next week.