Police hope NavMat will cut car crime

01 June 2009
Police hope NavMat will cut car crime

Police hope 'beanbag-style satnav holders' will cut car crime

TELL-TALE windscreen sucker marks that tip off thieves targeting satellite navigation systems are being wiped out by police.

Officers are handing out beanbag-style sat nav holders to motorists in a bid to stop them attaching the hi-tech devices to their windscreens.

It is hoped the bags, which leave no trace that a sat nav system has been used, will cut Cardiff’s car crime problems.

Chief Inspector Alun Morgan, based at Fairwater Police Station, said: “When people attach a sat nav to their windscreens using suckers and then remove it, tell-tale marks are left behind which tell thieves there may be something worth stealing in the car.

“So using funding from the Safer Capital Partnership, we have bought 60 sat nav beanbags and have distributed them to hotels and commercial organisations across the city, asking them to give them to regular visitors for free, particularly those who have been victims of previous thefts.”

The beanbags – called Nav-Mats – sit on the car dashboard.

The sat nav device can be placed in the middle so the driver can see the screen while driving.

The mats, which cost around £30, are heavy enough to stay on the dashboard and mean the driver does not have to use suckers to attach the sat nav to the windscreen.

“Early indications from a number of hotels are extremely encouraging in terms of the take-up of the beanbags, awareness of the theft problem and the prevention of crime,” said Chief Insp Morgan.

The beanbags are not the only innovative method being used by police to bring down car crime.

As previously reported in the Echo, Chief Insp Morgan has also written to convicted car crooks warning them that if they keep stealing and breaking into cars, it is only a matter of time before they will be caught.

And if officers do arrest them, they receive another letter saying “I told you so”.

He said with so many specially-trained officers and hi-tech devices at their disposal, those who break into or steal cars are now more likely than ever to be caught.

“It is a frustration to me that people who live in, work or visit the city and park their car sometimes return to find it has gone or that property from their car has gone,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s fair and I think we have a duty to try to keep Cardiff as safe as we possibly can.”

By Abby Alford, South Wales Echo