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Old 16th July 2008, 10:10   #1
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Default New technology to catch car thieves

WASHINGTON: In some US cities, police have turned the thievesí greed and nifty new technology around on them, letting the car catch the crook.

With one vehicle stolen every 26 seconds, using decoys to nab the bad guys is nothing new in police work, but in Arlington County just outside of Washington, the police donít have to wait by the bait to nail their target.
When the unsuspecting thief forces open the door of an attractive car left in place by law enforcement, a hidden camera begins to film him. At the same time an alarm goes off in the police headquarters, and a GPS device automatically begins tracking him in the car.

Once a police team is in pace to make the arrest, they simply send an electronic command to the car to stop, locking its doors at the same time so the thief canít get out. He canít do anything but wait inside for the police to arrive.

The system has been remarkably successful. Since 2002, when Arlington police began setting out decoy cars in areas known for car theft or other crime, the number of cars stolen each year has been cut by more than half, from 676 to just 302 last year.

The Arlington police have brought in 92 crooks, out of 94 attempted thefts of decoy vehicles, said John Lisle, spokesman for the county police ó and they have a 100% conviction rate.

With the video of the theft as evidence against them, the thieves have little to defend themselves with in court.

"We use vehicles that are probably attractive to car thieves," Lisle explained. "We put the vehicles in locations where there is a higher probability of them being taken, a neighborhood where there have been issues with car thefts."

The decoy program clearly works: the 302 cars stolen county-wide last year was the fewest since 1961. The police mostly use as bait Honda Civics and Accords and Toyota Camry.

The Link: New technology to catch car thieves-Health/Sci-The Times of India
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