To say that car theft is a very serious issue all over the world, at this point, would actually be a little bit of an understatement. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, for example, a massive $5.6 billion was lost to car theft in the United States in 2016 alone. The average dollar value attached to theft on a per-incident basis came in at a staggering $7,680. Not only that, but cars were actually stolen at a rate of 236.9 per 100,000 people — up a disappointing 6.6 percent from a few years earlier.
While it’s certainly true that car thefts have actually been trending downward over the last quarter century in the United States and elsewhere around the globe, all signs point to the fact that this is still a very serious issue that needs to be addressed at all costs. With increasing regularity, more and more law enforcement agencies and other government bodies are turning to the wonders of modern technology to do precisely that. Case in point: One attempted car theft in Jakarta was recently foiled using what is perhaps simultaneously the most straightforward and most sophisticated solution of all — a standard GPS tracker.
The Case of the East Jakarta Car Thief: What Happened
Earlier in 2018, two car thieves — later identified as Helmi Ibrahim and Rilo Candra — attempted to steal a hatchback from a car rental facility in Cililitan. On the surface, their plan appeared foolproof. They had earlier rented the car for a few days, at which point they made a copy of its keys. They returned the car as expected, waited a few hours for the business to close, and then quickly returned to the scene of the would-be crime.
They broke into the car garage at around 2 a.m. local time, at which point the business owner’s neighbor actually texted him. Muhammad Aritamma, the owner, came to the location and saw that his worst fears were confirmed: The garage was empty. However, all hope was not lost. The car had a GPS tracker inside that, unbeknownst to the thieves, was actively recording its location. The police located the car in the nearby Cipayung area almost immediately. Once the perpetrators discovered that the police were onto them, they tried to flee. At that point, people actually living in that area all came together to help stop them. They were quickly apprehended and taken to the local police station.
The car thieves told law enforcement officials that this was actually the first time they had ever tried to steal a car. They indicated that they had planned to sell it in Bekasi to any buyer they could find. Obviously, their plan never actually made it that far, so that is one element they won’t have to worry about anytime soon.
Indeed, as GPS trackers become more sophisticated and more affordable all the time, these types of instances will become more common as time goes on. Even as recently as a decade ago, if you wanted a GPS tracker installed on your car, you would probably have to invest in technology such as LoJack — something that needed to be purchased at the same time as the vehicle for hundreds or even thousands of dollars more in some cases.
Flash forward to today, and you can get a powerful, discreet GPS tracker for a few hundred dollars, complete with features such as real-time location sharing, internet streaming and much more. Car owners have embraced similar measures in the past, as evidenced by the fact that solutions such as dashcams are essentially becoming a ubiquitous part of owning a car in many countries. Once GPS trackers manage to reach the same level, it’s easy to imagine a situation where would-be car thieves need to find something else on which to focus their efforts. At that point, car theft will probably be a lot more trouble than it’s worth, much to the celebration of vehicle owners everywhere.