Anti-theft company's offer may be unfair advantage

Created: 03/13/2014 11:06 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4

KOB Eyewitness News 4 questions if a big company is marketing itself on the backs of our taxpayer resources.

Lo Jack -- which sells devices to track stolen vehicles -- just secured a big slice of business Thursday.

It installed a bunch of equipment in police cruisers here in the Albuquerque metro -- for free.

The company says its technology will help police find your stolen vehicle much faster -- if your car has the proper equipment too.

But KOB wondered if it's unfair to other businesses.

Some APD officers, and Bernalillo County sheriff's deputies, will soon learn Lo Jack's language.

The technology, which has been around for nearly 30 years, is finally in New Mexico.

If a car's stolen, and it has Lo Jack on board, the car will put out a specialized radio frequency that only Lo Jack receivers can read.

The company just installed those receivers in cruisers across the metro -- for free.

As the company's done elsewhere, it will contact law enforcement, offering to donate those receivers, then, at times, hold news conferences.

Indeed, Lo Jack works. The company says it boosts auto theft recovery up to 90 percent.

But the other half of its technology -- for consumers -- costs nearly $700, and there are competitors out there.

Company president Randy Ortiz says at the very least, Lo Jack's radio frequency can go where GPS tracking companies cannot.

And, Ortiz says, it often goes a step further.

So, although Lo Jack now has front-seat access to our officers, those officers tell KOB it is just one more tool in their toolbox: A free tool, for them at least, that makes our streets safer.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office tells KOB that it receives calls from companies like OnStar as well any time that company has a stolen vehicle to report.

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