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Sat-Nav Home

A crime problem and how to avoid it


Although Satellite Navigation is useful in a car, there is a security weakness which you may wish to eliminate so you can avoid being victim to a crime. The problem is akin to the old trick of leaving your front door key under a flower pot, which is something no longer done as it made it too easy for thieves to get in as "under a flower pot" was the obvious place to look for the key. The modern equivalent of leaving your front door key under a flower pot is: Programming your sat-nav with your actual truthful home location! Here, let me tell you a cautionary tale:

A man drove his snazzy car to a car park, where he handed his keys over to the car park attendant who parked the car for him. He thought no more of it until a few hours later he came back to find a different car park attendant who assured him that it was not car park policy to park cars for the customers! What had happened? Also, why had the car now GONE?!

What had happened was quite shocking, as an impostor had pretended to be a car park attendant and had tricked the man into believing he was going to park the car. After the owner was out of sight, he stole the car and drove off with his mates.

Now you might think that was quite bad, the car having been stolen, but it gets worse. At least cars have car insurance, and although a person may feel quite fond of their car, it's not their home, but then again...

The car had a Sat Nav, and the thieves in the stolen car pressed the Home button. Sat-navs are very trusting, and the polite voice gave perfect instructions for the exact route to take to the fellow's house, whereupon the thieves used the house keys which were attached to the car keys, to get into the house.

Knowing the owner was not in the vicinity, and that the owner had no car, the thieves had plenty of time to steal as much out of the house as they wanted, and then they made their getaway in the car.

How to Prevent this Happening to YOU:

It's not as simple as being very wary of car park attendants. Nor is it a matter of keeping your house keys separate from your car keys, although that might help. Obviously a set of house keys should not have the home address on them on a key fob, but what about the sat-nav? This is the thing: Don't program your sat-nav with your actual home address!

Instead of putting your home address on your sat-nav HOME control, put in the address of your local police station! That way, if thieves steal your car, (or if they break in and steal your sat-nav!), the navigation instructions will direct them to the police station. Admittedly it would be handy if the car was also set up so it was programmed to arrive at the police station, lock the centralised door locks, set off the car alarm, immobilise the ignition, and use the carphone to ring the police and play a robot message to the effect that the police should go outside the police station front door and arrest the people trying to escape from car number [license plate]. However, most cars aren't so well-equipped, but it may be a small consolation as a thought that the thieves might still drive along following the sat-nav's polite unwavering voice whose poker-playing tone would not even hint at the ruse, drive to the police station car park in the hopes of arriving at a house worth burgling, and then upon realising they'd been fooled, might have to abandon the car right there!

Another point of finesse of programming sat-nav "home" as the address of your local police station, is that it is most likely to be sufficiently near to your home that you can switch the sat-nav off as soon as it gets within your local area. So, even if you are hundreds of miles away, the "home" function still works in getting you home, and yet in case of car theft it doesn't help the thieves to get to your actual abode.

Incidentally, if you are interesting in buying a sat-nav, you could have a look at some of these places selling car accessories and mobile phones, places such as Halfords where they seem to always have these things in stock. Do you know, you can even get sat-nav from Screwfix the DIY store?!

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