Whenever a Boston man parks his car, he removes his iPod, unplugs the transponder he uses to connect it to his sound system, and hides his global positioning system device inside his glove box. The strategy has a flaw, says the Boston Globe. He leaves the GPS mount on the windshield, a giveaway to thieves that a pricey GPS is somewhere in the car and an oversight police say has caused the number of the devices stolen to more than quadruple from 2006 to 2007.
Police are trying to develop new strategies to curb the thefts. “It’s spreading all over the place like the chickenpox,” one officer said. In the first 11 months of 2006, police reported 217 GPS devices stolen in Boston. During the same period in 2007, the number skyrocketed to 1,009 – an increase so dramatic it skewed Boston crime statistics that would have shown greater improvement, Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said. “Our crime rate would be down 7 percent, instead of being down 4 percent,” he said. The GPS devices are valuable (they can cost between $200 and $1,000) and sell easily on the street or the Internet. They are also easy to steal. Recruits at the Boston Police Academy have studied possible solutions, such as asking GPS makers to donate devices with tracking monitors so investigators can install them in decoy cars and find thieves.