GPS Tracks Down Knife-Wielding Assailant

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Last December police in Kansas City, Missouri arrested a man after he refused to pay for a cab ride, stabbed his female cab driver, and took off with her car. Unbeknownst to the cabby’s attacker, though, was the fact that this particular company, Checker Cabs, has equipped all of it’s vehicles with GPS tracking units. And while the cab company was unable to track the vehicle the night of the attack due to some technological malfunctions, by the next morning they had re-established tracking to the cab and the police were able to confront, and after a brief high speed race, apprehend the suspect.


If it seems like you’ve read a similar story before, you probably have. In fact, although car thefts are on the decline, as of 2010 the FBI estimated that a motor vehicle was stolen every 43 seconds, good for over 737,000 a year. So perhaps it should be no wonder that GPS tracking units are becoming one of many police department’s favorite crime fighting tools. Gone are the days when the best service GPS provided was directions to the closest coffee shop. Now, services like Onstar from GM offer GPS tracking of your vehicle in case of theft. In the case of Onstar, 76% of vehicles equipped with the service are recovered by police. That number looks even better when compared to a national vehicle recovery rate of 43% in 2009.


But even with a variety of car tracking devices available, most which have several useful features in addition to vehicle recovery assistance, many car owners still have not equipped their cars with these relatively inexpensive tracking devices. Compared to the expense and hassle purchasing a new car, making the investment of money and time to equip your car with a GPS device seems like a small sacrifice.


Criminals always seem to be a half step ahead of the law, and some professional auto thieves are discovering ways to combat GPS tracking, but, as Onstar’s recovery rate suggests, many criminals still have not figured out that their every move in a stolen vehicle can be mapped. Vehicles are often stolen to be flipped for a quick profit or as getaway cars to be trashed abandoned, so time is of essence if you want to recover your vehicle. And if you have GPS tracking for your vehicle you can help give police the upper hand they need.

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Darrell Fogal

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