Security Journal

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 329–351 | Cite as

Reviewing the effectiveness of electronic vehicle immobilisation: Evidence from four countries

  • Rick Brown
Original Article

Abstract

This article reviews the evidence from 16 studies that have examined the impact of electronic immobilisation on vehicle theft in the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and the USA. Six hypotheses that explore how electronic immobilisers work were examined. The results show that 15 of the 16 studies indicate that electronic immobilisation has been successful in reducing vehicle theft. These reductions have mostly been larger for temporary (recovered) vehicle thefts than for permanent (unrecovered) thefts. This may also have resulted in a reduction in young people engaging in vehicle theft. Although some studies showed there had been displacement towards vehicles without electronic immobilisation, this was outweighed by the reductions in vehicle theft observed overall.

Keywords

vehicle security electronic immobilisation immobiliser vehicle theft acquisitive crime 

References

  1. Barry, D., Collard, J., Perchonok, E., Preysnar, W. and Harold, S. (1975) Preliminary Study of the Effectiveness of Auto Anti-theft Devices. Washington DC: National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice.Google Scholar
  2. Bässmann, J. (2011) Vehicle theft reduction in Germany: The long-term effectiveness of electronic immobilisation. European Journal of Criminal Policy Research 17 (3): 221–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brown, R. (2004) The effectiveness of electronic immobilisation: Changing patterns of temporary and permanent theft. In: M. Maxfield and R.V. Clarke (eds.) Understanding and Preventing Car Theft, Crime Prevention Studies Vol. 17. Cullompton, Devon, UK: Willan Publishing, pp. 101–119.Google Scholar
  4. Brown, R. and Thomas, N. (2003) Aging vehicles: Evidence of the effectiveness of new car security from the home office car theft index. Security Journal 16 (3): 45–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Checkoway, S. et al (2011) Comprehensive experimental analysis of automotive attack surfaces. Proceedings of the USE-NIX Security Symposium, San Francisco, California, August 2011.Google Scholar
  6. Copes, H. and Cherbonneau, M. (2006) The key to auto theft: Emerging methods of auto theft from the offenders’ perspective. British Journal of Criminology 46 (5): 917–934.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ekblom, P. (1997) Gearing up against crime: A dynamic framework to help designers keep up with the adaptive criminal in a changing world. International Journal of Risk, Security and Crime Prevention 2 (4): 249–265.Google Scholar
  8. Ekblom, P. (2012) The private sector and designing products against crime. In: B.C. Welsh and D.P. Farrington (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Crime Prevention. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 384–403.Google Scholar
  9. Farrell, G., Tseloni, A., Mailley, J. and Tilley, N. (2010) The crime drop and the security hypothesis. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 48 (2): 147–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Farrell, G., Tseloni, A. and Tilley, N. (2011) The effectiveness of vehicle security devices and their role in the crime drop. Criminology and Criminal Justice 11 (1): 21–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fujita, S. and Maxfield, M. (2012) Security and the drop in car theft in the united states. In: J. van Dijk, A. Tslenoi and G. Farrell (eds.) The International Crime Drop: New Directions in Research. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  12. Hazelbaker, K. (1997) Insurance industry analyses and the prevention of motor vehicle theft. In: M. Felson and R.V. Clarke (eds.) Business and Crime Prevention. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press.Google Scholar
  13. JP Research. (2006) Phase 2 Final Report: Effectiveness of Parts Marking and Anti-theft Devices in Inhibiting Auto Theft. Mountain View, CA: JP Research.Google Scholar
  14. Koscher, K. et al (2010) Experimental security analysis of a modern automobile. 2010 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, http://www.autosec.org/pubs/cars-oakland2010.pdf, accessed 19 December 2012.
  15. Kriven, S. and Ziersch, E. (2007) New car security and shifting vehicle theft patterns in Australia. Security Journal 20 (2): 111–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Laycock, G. (2004) The UK car theft index: An example of government leverage. In: M. Maxfield and R.V. Clarke (eds.) Understanding and Preventing Car Theft, Crime Prevention Studies Vol. 17. Cullompton, Devon, UK: Willan Publishing, pp. 25–44.Google Scholar
  17. Lee, A., Wyndham, T. and Fairman, T. (2006) Reducing theft of old vehicles: Raising levels of investment in car immobilisers. In: Economic and Resource Analysis (ed.) Changing Behaviour to Prevent Crime: An Incentives-based Approach, Home Office Online Report 05/06. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  18. Levesley, T., Braun, G., Wilkinson, M. and Powell, C. (2004) Emerging Methods of Car Theft: Theft of Keys, Findings 239. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  19. Mason, S. (2012) Vehicle remote keyless entry systems and engine immobilisers: Do not believe the insurer that this technology is perfect. Computer Law and Security Review 28 (2): 195–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mayhew, P., Clarke, R. and Hough, M. (1992) Steering column locks and car theft. In: R.V. Clarke (ed.) Situational Crime Prevention: Successful Case Studies. New York: Harrow and Heston, pp. 52–65.Google Scholar
  21. MM Starrs Pty Ltd. (2002) Principles for Compulsory Immobiliser Schemes. Melbourne: National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.Google Scholar
  22. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (1998) Auto Theft and Recovery: Effects of the Anti Car Theft Act 1992 and the Motor Vehicle Theft Law Enforcement Act of 1984. Washington DC: US Department of Transport.Google Scholar
  23. National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council. (2007) The Effectiveness of Immobilisers in Preventing Vehicle Theft in Australia. CARS Brief Report, April 2007. Melbourne: National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.Google Scholar
  24. Newman, G.R. (2004) Car safety and car security. In: M. Maxfield and R.V. Clarke (eds.) Understanding and Preventing Car Theft. Cullompton, UK: Willan Publishing. Crime Prevention Studies Vol. 17. pp. 217–248.Google Scholar
  25. Pawson, R. (2006) Evidence-based Policy: A Realist Perspective. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Perry, H.W. (1910) Anti joy ride devices. Scientific American 15 January 1910: 49, 58 and 70.Google Scholar
  27. Potter, R. and Thomas, P. (2001) Engine Immobilisers: How Effective Are They? South Australia: National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.Google Scholar
  28. Rhodes, W., Johnston, P. and McMullen, Q. (1999) An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Automobile Parts Marking on Preventing Theft. Revised final report prepared for the National Institute of Justice. Cambridge, MA: Abt Associates.Google Scholar
  29. Rhodes, W. and Kling, R. (2003) An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Automobile Parts Marking and Anti-theft Devices on Preventing Theft. Report prepared for National Institute of Justice. Contract #OJP-99-165-M. Cambridge, MA: Abt Associates.Google Scholar
  30. Sallybanks, J. and Brown, R. (1998) Vehicle Crime Reduction: Turning the Corner. Policing and Reducing Crime Unit, Police Research Series Paper 119. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  31. Sherman, L.W., Gottfredson, D.C., MacKenzie, D.L., Eck, J., Reuter, P. and Bushway, S.D. (1998) Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t and What's Promising, Research in Brief. Washington DC: National Institute of Justice.Google Scholar
  32. Southall, D. and Ekblom, P. (1985) Designing for Vehicle Security: Towards a Crime Free Car, Crime Prevention Unit Paper 4. London: Home Office.Google Scholar
  33. Van Dijk, J., Manchin, R., van Kesteren, J., Nevala, S. and Hideg, G. (2005) The Burden of Crime in the EU. Research Report: A Comparative Analysis of the European Crime and Safety Survey. (EU ICS) 2005.Google Scholar
  34. Van Dijk, J., Tslenoi, A. and Farrell, G. (2012) The International Crime Drop: New Directions in Research. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Webb, B. (1994) Steering column locks and motor vehicle theft: Evaluations from three countries. In: R.V. Clarke (ed.) Crime Prevention Studies, Vol. 2. Monsey, NY: Criminal Justice Press, pp. 71–89.Google Scholar
  36. Webb, B. (2005) Preventing vehicle crime. In: N. Tilley (ed.) Handbook of Crime Prevention and Community Safety. Cullompton, Devon, UK: Willan Publishing, pp. 458–485.Google Scholar
  37. Webb, B., Smith, M. and Laycock, G. (2004) Designing out crime through vehicle licensing and registration systems’ theft. In: M. Maxfield and R.V. Clarke (eds.) Understanding and Preventing Car Theft, Crime Prevention Studies, Vol. 17. Cullompton, Devon, UK: Willan Publishing, pp. 67–84.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rick Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Australian Institute of CriminologyCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations