In Vehicle Communications Systems Valuable To Consumers Law Enforcement

In Vehicle Communications Systems Valuable To Consumers Law Enforcement

An estimated 1.3 million Americans had their vehicles stolen last year,​ according to​ the​ Federal Bureau of​ Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Report. After years of​ steady decline in​ the​ '90s,​ victims of​ motor vehicle thefts lost an​ estimated $8.6 billion in​ 2003.

As police agencies across the​ country look for new ways to​ crack down on​ this nagging problem,​ consumers are encouraged to​ take active measures to​ deter auto theft. the​ National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB),​ a​ non-profit organization dedicated to​ fighting insurance fraud and vehicle theft,​ recommends a​ multi-layer of​ protection to​ deter car thieves. the​ suggestions include not leaving keys in​ the​ car,​ locking doors,​ parking in​ well-lit areas and using visual and audio deterrents,​ such as​ steering wheel locks and car alarms.

In-vehicle safety and communication systems are another option for motorists and are becoming more common in​ new vehicles. General Motors' OnStar system,​ used by three million subscribers,​ uses Global Positioning System (GPS) and wireless technologies to​ respond to​ about 500 stolen vehicle requests a​ month. OnStar advisors work closely with police dispatchers,​ passing along critical information to​ help guide authorities to​ the​ location of​ a​ stolen vehicle.

One person who realized the​ value of​ owning a​ vehicle equipped with an​ in-vehicle safety system was Raiford Brown. When his 2004 Hummer H2 was stolen from the​ driveway of​ his home in​ Tennessee,​ Brown called the​ local sheriff's department to​ report the​ theft. After filing a​ police report,​ the​ sheriff's department called OnStar to​ assist in​ the​ recovery of​ the​ vehicle. OnStar Advisor Lewis Baldwin used the​ vehicle's embedded GPS system to​ pinpoint the​ its whereabouts. By then,​ the​ car had been driven across the​ state line into Sharonville,​ Ohio. Once authorities recovered the​ vehicle and apprehended the​ suspect,​ they learned he was also one of​ America's most-wanted fugitives.

"Electronic vehicle locating systems can help reduce the​ amount of​ the​ time it​ takes police to​ locate a​ stolen vehicle and apprehend the​ suspects,​" said Col. Paul McClellan,​ superintendent of​ the​ Ohio State Highway Patrol. "Our goal is​ to​ get the​ owner's vehicle back before it's been damaged. Citizens can help by taking the​ best precautions to​ help deter theft."

For the​ 2006 model year,​ three million GM vehicles in​ North America will be equipped with the​ OnStar in-vehicle safety and communications system. the​ number of​ such vehicles is​ expected to​ grow incrementally,​ up from 1.4 million in​ 2004 and 2.2 million in​ the​ 2005 model years.

In Vehicle Communications Systems Valuable To Consumers Law Enforcement

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