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Phone apps help police track stolen goods

ORIGINALLY created to help users locate their smartphones, apps like Find My iPhone and Lookout have become a handy tool for police to track down and recover stolen goods. Danielle Frazzetto reports.

Photo: Aun Ngo

The Victorian Police have been using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, usually for navigational purposes, to fight crime.

It has assisted them in tracking and recovering stolen goods that have GPS receivers in them, such as iPhones and iPads with the Find My iPhone app, and Andriod smartphones with the Lookout app.

Image by Bizmac

If you own any of these devices and would like to safeguard them against theft, both apps are free.

Inspector Tony Langdon from the Victorian Police believes these apps have proven their worth, and are valuable.

“This is another valuable tool to help locate stolen or lost property. There have been three reported cases in the last 12 months with all items being located and offenders identified,” he says.

Image by Bizmac

Inspector Langdon explains that although they have only started using the technique recently, it’ll likely be utilised more often in future.

“This application has only been in existence for a relative short period of time. I believe such notifications and uses of these apps will increase in the future,” he says.

Dr Mark Gregory from the School of Electrical and Computing Engineering at RMIT University says the usage of GPS technology has been interesting and varied.

“There are a lot of quite valid uses for this technology, for the police and also for the average person who wishes to find a device they might have left behind or lost,” he says.

Dr Gregory  believes that government bodies, such as the police, are utilising technology proactively.

“The police and other government agencies are fairly proactive in utilising new technologies as they become available and already there’s quite a range of uses for GPS tracking, and devices and systems that are connected to the various networks,” he explains.

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