Decoy Cars with GPS Trackers Being Used to Catch Car Thieves

14 Jan 2020

Police in Walnut Creek, California are using decoy cars parked throughout the city and filled with luxury items and electronics to attract and catch thieves. These items are equipped with GPS tracking for law enforcement so police are notified instantly when the car doors are opened, windows are shattered, or “tagged” items are removed from the decoy vehicles.

Does the Use of GPS with Decoy Cars Work?

Absolutely, in fact, it has been working so well that the city is tripling the number of decoys in use this year. What types of items are police using to attract thieves? These items include a wide range of objects such as:

  • Louis Vuitton purses and bags
  • iPads
  • Laptops
  • Backpacks
  • Satchels
  • Suitcases

When the windows of the decoy cars are smashed, police receive notifications. When the items with GPS trackers are moved, however, police receive instant location information so they can follow the signal to make arrests.

Why Such Drastic Measures?

Auto burglaries are consistently high with 800-900 such thefts occurring every year in and around Walnut Creek. This is the most recent, not to mention highly effective, tactic in local law enforcement efforts to reduce the frequency of thefts, especially in large commercial parking lots, parking garages, and even metered parking spaces throughout the city.

Are There Ways to Prevent Car Burglaries?

When interviewed by ABC 7 reporters, Lieutenant James Laughter, of the Walnut Creek Police Department, recommended that people are more proactive when protecting themselves from being targets. His recommendations include the following approaches.

  • Remove valuables from vehicles whenever exiting them.
  • Lock all vehicle doors when leaving the car.

In addition to these efforts to catch thieves, Walnut Creek is also implementing a policy to raise awareness, among residents, to be more aware and cautious about leaving valuable items visible inside their cars. The Explorer program recruits to teens to walk around parking lots and garages in search of valuable items visible inside cars and leaving what looks like tickets on the windshields advising them to be more careful about where they leave these items.

GPS tracking is about so much more than conserving fuel and saving trees. This is just one of many ways GPS can be used to protect you and your possessions.

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