Ford vehicle security experts ho-ho-home in on Christmas car crooks
Ford, working closely with police agencies, has developed technologies that help thwart car thieves bent on cashing-in this Christmas season.
Aware that Christmas shoppers often return to their vehicles to drop off purchases mid-shopping spree, criminals sometimes use a signal jammer operating on the same frequency as vehicle locking systems to block cars from being successfully locked. Criminals are then able to loot the vehicles unhindered.
Ford’s Vehicle Security Department team in Dunton, England, has developed technology to stay one step ahead of the criminals. For example, Ford vehicles equipped with Keyless Entry remote central locking – Fiesta, Focus, C-MAX, S-MAX, Mondeo and Galaxy – can detect whether a locking command has been successful, and if not, will resend the command at a different frequency.
“Winter, and the festive season in particular, can be a lucrative period for both organised car criminals and opportunist thieves,” says Simon Hurr, Vehicle Security specialist, Ford of Europe. “As a former police special sergeant, I have witnessed first-hand just how crafty car criminals can be and the distress their actions can bring to victims.
“Working with the police to analyse trends in car crime and the methods used by criminals, enables us to develop ways to prevent thieves from spoiling what should be the happiest time of year for Ford owners.”
Dark Christmas nights can be perfect for another activity that’s sure to earn car criminals a place on Santa’s naughty list – the “smash and grab”; a criminal technique as old as car crime itself but one that shows no signs of waning.
The Thatcham Category 1 volume-sensing alarm available for the Focus, C-MAX, S-MAX, Kuga, Mondeo and Galaxy can detect a thief entering through a window and deliver a high-volume warning to deter intruders and attract attention to the crime.
In the past year, 1,189,000 British car owners were victims of car crime according to the British Crime Survey 2010/11, with 70 per cent suffering thefts of goods from the car with an average value of £202.
“Strong security systems are an essential component in the battle against car crime, so we are delighted that Ford’s Vehicle Security Department works alongside police car crime experts to understand the latest criminal techniques and car crime trends,” says DCI Mark Hooper, head of unit for the UK’s Association of Chief Police Officers Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service.
“This relationship helps Ford experts develop more effective vehicle security systems that benefit car owners and assist police forces by reducing opportunities for car criminals to strike.”
Car crime is not a problem restricted to the festive season, but dark nights combined with bustling towns and shopping centres full of distracted car-owners with plenty on their to-do lists are elements that play into the hands of increasingly cunning car criminals severely lacking in Christmas spirit.
“In 2011, criminals succeeded in staying one-step ahead of their victims, but by working in partnership with their customers Ford is making a valuable contribution to customer vehicle security,” says Mike Briggs, Vehicle Security manager at Thatcham, the UK insurer funded automotive research centre.
“Owners have a responsibility to ensure their vehicles are protected; in particular by paying careful attention to keeping their vehicle keys secure at all times. Christmas is already an expensive and busy time of year – by working together Ford and their customers can avoid additional stress and help prevent vehicle crime over the festive period.”