Navigation Systems Attracting Thieves

Article excerpt

Byline: By SAM BURSON Western Mail

Satellite navigation systems are replacing radios as the must- steal item for car thieves this Christmas. GPS satellite navigation systems, which can tell you where you are at any given time, and even audibly talk you through tricky routes, are one of the most popular gifts for the map-shy motorist.

But police are warning that thieves who once targeted car radios are now more likely to go for global positioning systems in smash-and-grab raids, as they are much more easily transferable.

Systems worth pounds 200 to pounds 400 can be sold easily for pounds 50 to pounds 100 in pubs or on the internet.

Officers in London have already been forced to set up a senior investigation team, with 500 now being taken in the city every month.

And crimes in Wales are also expected to soar after Christmas, with thousands expected to be given as presents.

Police say even if we are canny enough to take the gadgets away from the dashboard, the sucker marks they leave behind can encourage criminals to break in to check under the seat or inside the glove compartment. Community Safety officer Anthony George, from Dyfed Powys Police, said the force was bracing itself for a spate of thefts after Christmas.

He said, 'We really don't see all that much theft of cars or even radios anymore, largely because of how advanced security systems are.

'But GPS systems make a very obvious target for thieves. 'With Christmas a lot more people are going to get them. 'They can cost about pounds 300 so they are going to be a tempting target, especially when they are there for all to see stuck to the dash.

'That is a sight which could prove just too tempting for some people.' And he said even hiding them under the seat or in the glove-box could prove futile, adding, 'If you can't take them with you perhaps the safest thing to do is to keep them in the boot, because if some people see the marks where one of the devices has been sitting on the dash, they might think it's worth a try to see if someone's just left one hidden inside the car. …