More than 260,000 sat-nav units were stolen from cars in 2005, with some sold on for as little as £50. Glass repair company Autoglass says it would take just 280 stolen systems for a thief to generate an income of £14,000 a year.
The figures have been released as a warning to fleet managers who have introduced such technology in Autoglass’s 13th annual Cracking Car Crime survey.
In the study, reformed car thief Richard Taylor, an associate pastor at the Renewal Christian Centre in Birmingham and a presenter on television’s To Catch a Thief, said: ‘Car thieves are opportunists, but they’re also smart. Sat-navs are easy money and a cradle left on display on the dashboard, or even the sucker marks left on the windscreen, hint that there might be one hidden inside and a car thief will think nothing of breaking in to search.’
Autoglass managing director Nigel Doggett said: ‘Our research shows that 15% of drivers leave their valuables in full view and 28% think that hiding things under the seats or in the door pockets is a good enough deterrent.
‘One third also admit to leaving the sat-nav cradle on display, while one in 10 simply leave the system in place when they park. This is effectively an open invitation for thieves.
‘Fleet managers need to ensure that drivers are fully briefed on the need to remove any evidence of using a sat-nav, as well as avoiding hiding it inside the vehicle.’
Last month, Lloyds TSB autolease warned fleet managers of a rise in car crime during darker evenings in winter.