Special Report on the Motor Show (10): Keeping track of the thieves: A new device will alert the police when a vehicle is stolen, reports Tony Bosworth

IF you're a professional car thief or one of those young men who has a penchant for attempting handbrake turns in someone else's vehicle, beware. That car you've got your eye on could soon be fitted with a device that will have a police car on your tail inside 30 minutes.

A security system to be made available in Britain in about two months has proved so successful in fighting car theft in America that car owners fitting it get a 35 per cent discount on their insurance premiums.

The device - called Lojack in the US, but which may have a different name over here - comprises a transmitter that can be fitted in any of 40 locations inside the car. If the vehicle is moved and the device is not disarmed, it emits a constant signal that can be picked up by a police receiver. The car can then be tracked and retrieved even if its ignition is switched off.

Lojack has already been endorsed by the Association of Chief Police Officers, and police forces around the country have been assessing its benefits.

The device will cost about pounds 300 to fit into a car. The head of the Met's Stolen Vehicles Squad, Detective Superintendent Robert Melrose, says: 'I have some doubts about your average car owner in Camden wanting to spend that sort of money.

'However, it will enable us to cut down on the professional car theft business because the signal can be picked up even when a vehicle is crated and ready to be shipped out of the country.'

From the thief's point of view there's very little point in stealing a car fitted with Lojack because even if the police do not have a car receiving the Lojack signal in the area when the car is stolen, it could take hours for the thieves to find the transmitter within the car, during which time it will continue to operate, giving police time to get a fix on its location.

For those who don't want to spend pounds 300 on Lojack, Philips is launching a new range of alarms and immobilisers, which it claims will stop false alarms.

The problem with most alarm systems is that they bathe the interior of the car with ultrasonic waves that trigger the alarm when broken, such as when a a window is smashed.

Unfortunately, the waves can also be disturbed by air forcing its way in through the car's air vents when heavy traffic passes, or if the temperature inside the car alters.

The Philips Tri-Sonics system is said to be more competent and senses not only air movement, but also the speed and mass of movement. It also adjusts to changes in temperature. The four alarms in the range, costing from pounds 70 to pounds 250, also feature engine immobilisers and a radio key that is aimed at beating 'grabbers'.

A grabber is a device about the size of a small paperback that copies infra red key codes. When you blip the infra red key at your car to switch the alarm off, the thief, parked nearby, will use the grabber to copy your code. He then follows you home and when your car is unattended he uses the grabber again to open the doors and deactivate the alarm.

The Tri-Sonics system beats the grabber by constantly changing the code so that although the thief may record the code you used the first time, that code will not necessarily be the same by the time you park it again.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

    Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

    £18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links