The legitimate use of vehicle trackers in the security world is nothing new. However, tracking technology is increasingly being utilised by criminals to track potential target vehicles. They usually combine the use of trackers with surveillance to pinpoint target’s homes and identify patterns of movements. Clearly by monitoring the target’s vehicle the aim is to identify the best time to target them for robbery whether it is their house when they are not in or targeting them in the street when leaving or returning to the vehicle.
In a recent case this year (in Yorkshire) 2 men used these clandestine methods to develop their victim’s patterns of movements, before burgling their homes when the victims were known to be out of the house (confirmed by the use of a tracker fitted to their vehicle). Their criminal enterprise reeked in over £150,000 worth of goods, and police say the pair stole cash, jewellery and cars in Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield and London.
Tracker technology has advanced considerably in recent years. Very small, covert, battery powered devices can be quickly fitted to a vehicle and monitored instantly from a mobile phone. There are plenty of places a device can be fitted to the exterior of a vehicle. Devices are often magnetically attached. They are also often very bland in look – a ‘small grey box’ that doesn’t look out of place on a vehicle.
When conducting home/office TSCM inspections for clients we regularly have to highlight the need to include their vehicle as it is often overlooked. But in many ways, it’s an easier target than a property or office. Clearly not everyone needs to have their vehicles professionally inspected on a routine basis. However, we do encourage vehicle owners to regularly conduct a basic search of their vehicles to check no devices have been fitted. Most devices will be on the exterior of the vehicle unless they have managed to gain access to the vehicle
A common place to hide a GPS tracker is inside a wheel well, and this is also an easy location to inspect. Using a torch, check inside both the front and rear wheel wells. You may need to use a telescopic mirror to get a good look, and you can also feel around with your hand in places that you can’t see. Check under the vehicle, focus on areas someone could easily and quickly hide (plant) a tracker without taking too much time or effort, and keep in mind that the tracker could be covered in road dirt. Trackers can also be hidden under, or inside, bumpers. In some cases, you may have to reach up and inside the bumper to feel around. While trackers can be hidden inside the engine compartment, it’s not common. If someone can get inside your car to open the bonnet, they are more likely to hide the device inside the car.
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