By Greg Bartlett
Some parts of the country are seeing a dramatic decline in auto thefts this season thanks to the use of GPS vehicle tracking. Auto thefts tend to increase during times of economic downtown and thieves target a broader range of vehicles since they are looking to unload cars to buyers who may not be able to pay top dollar for pricier models. This season, however, would-be car thieves may find an unexpected surprise waiting for them after they’ve nabbed their prize.
Police departments have increasingly turned to GPS vehicle tracking to help them with monitoring suspected criminal activity. Many departments now use “bait cars,” which are cars equipped with GPS vehicle tracking that are specifically chosen to attract car thieves. Officers place them at mall and shopping center parking lots and when the car is stolen, the GPS tracking device can lead officers directly to the thief. Some cars are also equipped with hidden audio and video recorders which capture the thieves in action.
So far, the idea has provided excellent results. One city reported a twenty-eight percent drop in auto theft this year as compared to last year. Some departments have also used the technology at car and motorcycle shows when thefts tend to escalate due to the large number of vehicles in town. The devices work by sending a signal from the transmitter inside the car to a police department computer. A single officer can monitor the locations of all the bait cars in the area, and as soon as a car is stolen, officers can be dispatched to the scene to stop the theft. Police can see not only the location of the car, but also its speed and direction of travel, allowing them to intercept the driver quickly and accurately.
Many police departments also report significant savings by using GPS vehicle tracking to monitor potential theft rather than using actual officers. Because the cars can be monitored remotely, fewer officers need to be out on surveillance and can instead be used in more critical positions, allowing the department to save money by not keeping officers on the clock for situations that turn out to be a false alarm.
GPS vehicle tracking gives officers the upper hand in the case of vehicle theft and allows them to be a step ahead of the thief. By utilizing the technology available, they can make sure more citizens enjoy their holiday with family and friends without becoming victims of auto theft.