It’s an unpleasant statistic that over 300,000 cars are stolen every year in the UK. The UK has the unenviable reputation as being the car crime capital of Europe. While the police work tirelessly in the fight against car theft gangs, the sad fact is that half of all stolen vehicles are never recovered.
Car theft today is a sophisticated business and while alarms and immobilisers are useful, most cars are stolen using the owner’s own keys. This is why the use of vehicle tracking systems is on the rise.
A tracking system works around the clock to protect your vehicle from falling victim to theft. It consists of an electronic device which sends out a signal of the vehicle’s location in the event it is stolen.
Tracking systems are generally one of two different types and sometimes both – VHF and GPS.
VHF – this signal is activated if the vehicle is stolen. The signal can still be detected even if stored in an underground location or inside a shipping container, for example.
GPS – these are effective at tracking stolen vehicles anywhere in the world to within a few metres.
How do they work?
The majority of systems will activate if and when a vehicle is interfered with unexpectedly, such as being started without a key. The owner will receive an alert about the unauthorised use, the police are notified, and vehicle recovery can commence.
A more advanced device can notify a driver if their vehicle is being driven at an unexpected time or in an unfamiliar location. Further options can include the ability to kill the engine remotely, bringing the vehicle to a slow stop. Driver recognition technology can also be included, which will prevent keys from working if someone other than the driver attempts to start the engine.
These systems are powered independently, meaning that they will continue to work and emit a signal, even if the car’s battery is disconnected.
So, are they worth it?
In short, the answer is yes. Vehicle tracking has been shown to significantly improve the chances of having your vehicle recovered and recovered much faster in the event it’s been stolen. For improving your security, such a device makes good sense.
Despite the initial investment, there are financial benefits to installing a tracking system. For those with expensive cars, having a system fitted will provide access to a great many more insurance providers and lower premiums. Some insurance providers also offer discounts for those with tracking systems fitted. With improved recovery rates, you are less likely to need to make a claim on your insurance meaning savings on the claims excess and saving your no-claims bonus. You can also avoid the problem of getting a hire car and having to purchase a new vehicle.