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Car crime falling, thanks to car makers

20 June 2007

  • Volvo praised for thief-detecting device
  • Citroen also awarded for car ID system
  • Car crime has fallen since last year

Volvo's S80 has been recognised for its intruder detection system

A new in-car security device that detects the heartbeat of a potential car-jacker has been hailed as a 'major breakthrough' in tackling car crime.

Volvo's Personal Car Communicator, available in the S80 executive car, tells drivers that an intruder is hiding in their car as they return.

The technology detects the heartbeat of an unauthorised occupant and its aim is to clamp down on car-jackers who use force to obtain the keys to steal cars.

If a crook is waiting inside a car, the system sends a signal to the driver's key fob. The driver can then alert police.

Volvo received an award for innovation at the British Insurance Car Security Awards (BICSA) at Thatcham Research Centre. Managing director, Stuart Kerr, said: 'We are delighted the Personal Car Communicator has been recognised as an important technology to help further reduce vehicle crime.'

Recognition for Citroen, too
Citroen also received an award for innovation for its Vehicle Identification System.

Every new Citroen has the system as standard and although the French manufacturer is keeping tight-lipped about the technology and how it works, it says it combines covert and overt marking that allows the police to quickly identify cars.

A Citroen spokesman said: 'The details of the system are so secretive that only the police and insurance companies will know how it works, because we don't want the criminals to find out about it.'

The overall manufacturer award at the BICSA went to Audi.

Car crime falling
It appears that car makers are winning the battle against vehicle crime. Home Office figures show that in 2005/2006 there were more than 1,730,000 vehicle-related crimes, which include thefts of and thefts from cars.

That represents a fall of 8% on the previous year and is less than half the figure for 1993, where there were 4,000,000 incidents.

Peter Roberts, Thatcham chief executive, said: 'Many car thieves are just having to give up, thanks to the industry's quest to drive down car crime.'

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