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Anti-theft technology protects our cars, but has it made owners more vulnerable?

ST. LOUIS - Police in St. Louis City and St. Louis County agree technology may, in part, be fueling the recent spike in carjackings.

There's a growing school of thought that all of our anti-theft devices-alarms, remote locking and unlocking, keyless ignition/entry-make it so car thieves can no longer just scout a car to steal. Instead, they have to scout a person from whom they can most easily steal the key fob or clicker.

"It [technology] does," said Officer Ben Granda, St. Louis County Police Department. "That's great to keep us safer and keep our property where it should be. However, is it increasing the occurrence of carjackings? Maybe. It's not the full reason but it could be a contributing circumstance."

In the latest National Crime Insurance Bureau (2016) statistics, the St. Louis area ranks 100th for the rate of car thefts, behind San Francisco (8), Dallas (87), Indianapolis (53), plus Kansas City (42), Springfield (33) , Joplin (61), and St. Joseph (28) in Missouri.

That may be because people in the St. Louis area heeding the call to be on the lookout for people wanting to rob them of their cars.

"They give you strange eye contact and pull up real close and everything. If you get around it, you know the symptoms, just move away from them. Keep on driving," said driver Michael Mosely.

"When they got the lady down here at the QuikTrip trip a year or so ago, I was like, 'I go there all the time.' So, I've stopped running around at night for sure," said driver Dena Martin.

"Have your head on a swivel. Be looking around. Be cognizant of the people moving around about you. Don't be focused on your cellphone as you sit in your car or as you approach it. That's what a lot of people are doing. They're just too focused down and they're not seeing the things happening around them," Granda said.

Above all, give up your fob if carjacked, your life is worth more than your vehicle. More than likely, you'll get the car back.

St. Louis County police reported 48 carjackings in 2017; all but six of those vehicles were recovered. That carjacking number was actually down slightly from 2016 when there 50. St. Louis County police reported 35 in 2015.