Device helps police recover stolen cars

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Utah's Top 10 Stolen Vehicles in 2008
1. 1997 Honda Civic
2. 1992 Honda Accord
3. 1994 Acura Integra
4. 1993 Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
5. 1995 Nissan Altima
6. 1994 Nissan Sentra
7. 1991 Toyota Camry
8. 1997 Nissan Maxima
9. 2007 Ford F150 Pickup
10. 2006 Dodge Ram Pickup
National Insurance Crime Bureau

SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake Police and the Utah Highway Patrol say there's a product they want you to buy and install in your car. It's to help them find your vehicle if it gets stolen.

The police department wants to make it clear they are not endorsing this product, but they highly recommend it.

Officers staged a stolen vehicle drill to show KSL how the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System works. It's a small wireless radio frequency transceiver you have installed in your car. Then if you call 911 and report the vehicle stolen, police can track it.

A vehicle is stolen every 32.2 seconds in the U.S. Last year alone, nearly one million vehicles were stolen across the country. -FBI Statistics

"This is a recovery system," said Jerry Cole with the LoJack Corporation.

"This is something our auto theft people came across, and said this is something to help us be a little more proactive," said Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank.

This is the first time LoJack has been available in Utah. It costs $695. The Auto Theft Team with the Salt Lake City Police Department hopes you'll buy it.

Over 250,000 vehicles have been recovered worldwide since LoJack was introduced, with over 100,000 recovered in the U.S. alone. -LoJack

"The vehicles we believe will be recovered faster," said Jeff Carter, who is on the Auto Theft Team. "We think we are going to get more arrests, and we're going to get into areas they are tearing these vehicles apart, stripping them, where we haven't been before."

And it can cut back on dangerous high-speed chases.

"We can track the vehicle before the suspect knows that we are on to them," Burbank said.

Auto theft is a big problem in the city.

"Annually here in 2009, the auto theft detectives in Salt Lake City Police Department handled about 2,400 auto theft cases," Carter said.

And that's just Salt Lake. UHP says across the state, that same year, there were over 8,000 reported stolen cars.

Utah Auto Theft Statistics

Metropolitan Area2008 Rank, out of 361 MSAs2008 Auto Theft rate per 100,000 people
Salt Lake City52435.87
St. George303107.57
Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (MSA=Metropolitan Statistical Areas)

"It's a very big problem," Carter said.

That's why the department and UHP asked LoJack to make it available for Utahns. And detectives say it will make their job easier.


Story compiled with contributions from Amanda Butterfield and Marc Giauque.

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