14 September 2006

5 Ways To Reduce Car Crime

In 2005, according to a Home Office report based on data compiled from the National Crime Survey, there were about 2 million thefts of or from cars in the UK. That would be a lot of people in prison if we caught them all!? The figures are a national disgrace. Here’s the first 5 things I would do about it.

1. Petrol Station ANPRs Linked To Stolen Car Database/DVLA Records/Motor Insurance Database (effective, but in NuLabour’s eyes blighted by the ethnic mix of the lawbreakers caught by this colour-blind technique)

ANPR means automatic number plate recognition technology. If, as soon as you reported your car missing, the stolen car database was updated, the next time the car needs to be filled up with petrol, Plod would be on the scene. Also, this would be helpful for preventing lots of related crime (such as armed robbery) which is often undertaken with stolen cars. Figures show that claims arising from uninsured driving top 50,000 a year and cost £400 million. Linking ANPR to the DVLA and the Motor Insurers Database would take untaxed and uninsured drivers off the road.

Still not convinced? Sweden has implemented something similar to this system and has 50 times fewer uninsured drivers per capita than the UK.

2. Speed Limiters (opposed by Labour)

This measure has road safety benefits (preliminary results show crashes involving death or serious injury fall by a fifth among drivers who have limiters fitted) but as usual when Labour don’t want to do anything they commission a report, hold an inquiry or have a consultation. What can speed limiters achieve in terms of car crime? Not many takers for the 80mph joyride. Speed-hungry teens will stay at home playing Grand Tourismo. The getaway car that can only get up to speeds of 80mph doesn’t stand much chance against a 159mph police car.

3. Randomly Placed Or Subsidised Tracker Devices (Labour would prefer to use the technology to hammer you)

A friend of a friend worked on a similar project for an insurer a few years ago. It was canned, but I am sure the benefits to society of having car thieves knowing they were playing prison roulette each time they stole a car would exceed the costs.

4. Local Car Registrations (Labour make £40m a year in number plate sales by not doing this)

In places like Slovakia the first two letters identify the town or region you are from. This makes it easy to identify out-of-towners by their car registrations allowing police to identify suspicious situations effectively. Also, it’s easy to remember car registrations when crimes are committed as there are less random digits to remember.

5. Full DNA Sweep Of Theft From Cars De Rigueur (if all the above are done and police get rid of red tape they will find time to do this)

If all thefts from cars were seriously investigated, I am sure that crime would fall further.

Bit of a long post I admit? Anything to add.


B. Smithey said...

That is unbelievable. Mexico lets all their criminals come to America and basically pisses on us when we remove a derelict from their country. Yet we help their businesses and made one of their citizens the 3rd richest man in the world. This is unreal. Maybe we should invade Mexico and take it over and make all these illegal immigrants legal citizens of the US country of the new state of Mexico. Here is a great website I found earlier for cleaning cloudy headlight lenses on your car - Restore cloudy, yellow headlight lenses to new and save big money over replacements New Lite headlight restoration and cleaning kit at mdwholesale.com!

Jock Coats said...

I thought Norwich Union were going to offer a tracker based insurance policy. Or was that the one you're referring to that was canned? I don't like ANPR. It's an infringement of my privacy. But if all had trackers that could be activated as soon as reported stolen why would you need ANPR apart from for prurience.

Praguetory said...

Jock - It may have been NU (nod+wink). The fact that a company which has to make a profit was motivated to look into it means that it just has to be a beneficial public project.

ANPR is excellent at catching uninsured and untaxed vehicles. It would help catch more criminals and reduce car crime. Smithey - I presume your posting was in the wrong place?

Jock Coats said...

Trouble with ANPR is that it catches all of us all of the time potentially. There's an ad on in the UK at the moment (I can't even remember which car it's for - a Toyota maybe?) that says "you are caught on camera an average of 300 times a day". I don't particularly want to be followed around if I haven't done anything wrong, to have tapes there that could just be trawled through if someone felt like it.

I have much less of a problem with tracker technology that could be turned on when needed. Surely it could be just as good at catching car crime? It could maybe be turned on when someone's tax or MOT expired and so on as well as when it was stolen. That technology is surely more likely to come to the fore when we start road charging and such like.

Praguetory said...

Jock - I think tracker tech is relatively expensive as it means having tech on every car as opposed to every petrol station. I know where you are coming from - however in my post my priority is preventing and prosecuting crime. I'm sure safeguards can be put in place. On the other hand, maybe I am being scattergun in my approach, which I think is understandable because to me 2m car crimes a year is absolutely ridiculous.