How Using GPS Tracking Can Combat Car Theft

October 27, 2021 Published by

For a while, it seemed like car theft was going the way of the horse and buggy and the payphone.

In the late nineties and the early 2000s, car theft rates were plummeting. In many parts of the USA, car theft rates had plummeted by 60 percent. Chop shops and criminal car exporting operations were going out of business as more and more stolen cars were recovered by the police with information from GPS tracking systems.

Then, in the first six months of 2020, the FBI reports, car theft rates bounced back by about 9 percent. Car theft rates in the last six months of 2020 were up 13 percent.

In Los Angeles, which spent a large part of 2020 in a lockdown, car theft rates were up 60 percent.

The reason wasn’t the lockdown. The reason was something too many drivers leave in their cup holders: Key fobs.

In the late 1990s, cars started coming with engine immobilizers that only a preprogrammed microchip in the key fob could unlock. Car thefts fell 50 percent from 1.7 million a year in 1991 to just 850,000 per year by 2011, per data compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Technology, it seemed, had largely solved the problem of stolen vehicles.

Then people started leaving their key fobs in their cup holders. And with hundreds of thousands of people getting jobs with services like Favor, Doordash, and Instacart in 2020, drivers started leaving the motor running while they dashed inside to make a quick delivery.

In New York City, 6,858 vehicles were stolen in 2020, up from 3,988 the year before. NYPD cops arrested the same teenager behind the wheel of a stolen car twice in one day—in two different cars. A car thief commented to police in Los Angeles that stealing cars were more affordable than taking Uber.

Nothing takes the place of turning off the engine when you leave the car and taking your keys, all of your keys, with you. But even professional drivers of fleet vehicles can sometimes forget to take their keys.

This makes GPS tracking more important than ever.

GPS tracking devices can tell you the location and speed of every one of your fleet vehicles 24 hours a day. GPS can tell you when your vehicles have passed the boundaries of your preset geofences. GPS tracking can tell you how many miles your vehicles have been driven, whether they stayed on assigned routes, where they were parked, when they were parked, how long they were parked, and whether your operator is driving safely. GPS informatics can also give you data on fuel efficiency and maintenance issues.

If you are just looking to keep tabs on a personal vehicle, for instance, your family car when your teen is driving it, GPS tracking technology can push the same information to an app on your phone that it can send the dispatcher of a fleet of vehicles. You can keep track of your car’s whereabouts and your teen’s driving habits, so you can help keep your teen safe.

And, of course, GPS tracking can tell you the location of your vehicle if it is ever stolen.

Your GPS tracking device detects signals from GPS satellites that allow its onboard computer to calculate your vehicle’s longitude and latitude to within 25 feet with 95 percent confidence. Standard tracking devices refresh location data every 15 seconds. Your GPS tracking device uses cell phone towers to transmit the tracking information to an app on your phone (for your personal car) or your company computer for dispatch purposes.

When your car has been stolen, you can give your car’s location to the police for them to investigate. Grand theft auto investigations aren’t a do-it-yourself activity. For your safety, and easier filing with your insurance company, you should always leave recovering a stolen vehicle to law enforcement professionals.

If you have GPS tracking installed in your car, you have up to a 70 percent chance of recovery if it is stolen. Even if you left your key fob in the cupholder.

At GPS Technologies, we are committed to helping you find the tracking solution that meets your needs. Contact us online or call us for a consultation at (847) 382-5107 8 am-5 pm, Mon-Fri CST.

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