Car Security and Safety is an Enormous Problem
According to Forensic Investigation of Stolen-Recovered and Other Crime-Related Vehicles, a widely recognized guide to auto theft forensics, auto theft is often the first crime engaged in by juvenile offenders who go on to a career of committing other crimes. Stolen vehicles are often used in burglaries, armed robberies and other crimes. Criminals have even reinforced a stolen vehicle so it can be used to smash through a wall to gain access to a building such as a jewelry store. A few factors lead to the popularity of vehicle theft ranging from state regulations to drivers presenting “a crime of opportunity.” Stricter laws, more funding for auto theft prevention agencies, and rehabilitation, paired with technology can reduce the risk of theft and escalated criminal activity.
Auto Theft's Connection with Other Crimes
According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) a stolen car is often only the beginning of a succession of further related crimes. 97% of car thieves are also charged with other crimes, such as arson, drug trafficking, kidnapping, burglary, and fraud. Auto theft is a first step down a criminal path and cars stolen by experienced criminals are used in other serious crimes.
This tendency towards auto theft leading to further crimes provides an all-too-easy vector of opportunity when people make their cars easy to steal. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, up to 50% of stolen cars are left running or with the keys inside. Citizens can actually help reduce these aggregated crimes overall when they use common sense and take measures to protect their own vehicles against theft.
Task Forces and the Power of Tracking Technology
During the 1990s, as carjacking and other types of auto theft became a focus of law enforcement efforts, task forces were formed in several areas of the country to combat the problem and were significantly effective in reducing crime. Despite their success, task forces have been hampered by budget cuts over the last several years. Unfreezing budgets and restoring funding to these vital agencies is critical to regaining their impact on auto theft prevention.
Loopholes in Legal System Exacerbate Problem
Finally, in some states, it is difficult to prosecute or even detain car thieves. This often well-known fact makes stealing vehicles a tempting and ideal crime for young thrill-seeking offenders. An organized criminal enterprise can send out juveniles to steal cars; if they’re caught, they can be back on the street stealing again the very next day. As a result, some police departments turned to tracking technology to assist them. The installed devices paired with a communications alert network turns a stolen car into a homing beacon leading officers to the stolen vehicle. Recoveries may lead to larger crimes such as chop shops or drug trafficking that provides communities with better peace of mind when these criminal networks are dismantled.
Eliminate Gateway Crime and Close the Career Criminal Onramp
Since auto theft is often the first crime engaged in by juvenile offenders who go on to become career criminals, if we eliminate gateway car crime, we can prevent youth from lives of crime. Car burglary is too easy for the criminals; if it were harder, they would have to turn to honest ways of making money. And the network of chop shops and communities who buy stolen goods would have to change.
Keep Technologies Can Make a Difference
We will improve people’s lives by delivering a product and platform that saves lives and brings peace-of-mind to millions: fathers worried about the safety of their daughters, husbands worried for their wives and themselves, mothers concerned about their children and teens, and families concerned about their Grandparents. And if we can become ubiquitous, we have a chance at fundamentally changing crime in the United States.