WESTWOOD, MA (July 12, 2011) — LoJack Corporation (NASDAQ: LOJN) celebrates its 25th anniversary this July. Since the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System was first introduced in 1986, more than 300,000 stolen cars, SUVs, light trucks, motorcycles, heavy equipment and construction equipment worth nearly $4 billion have been recovered globally. Plus, at a time when the national recovery rate for stolen vehicles is at a 25-year low—nearly 57%—the recovery rate for stolen LoJack-equipped assets, after being reported stolen, remains at 90%.
This milestone underscores the staying power of the LoJack System, which has withstood the test of time as the most effective stolen vehicle recovery solution available—despite the dramatic changes in both technology and vehicle theft over the past quarter century.
LoJack claims its brand name enjoys nearly 90% name recognition, and says the brand has become synonymous with "all things recovery."
LoJack was originally developed for police by police. Former Medfield, Mass., Police Commissioner and Selectman Bill Reagan, who founded LoJack (the antithesis of "hi-jack"), developed the system as a way to help keep police officers safe as well as to protect vehicles from theft. The idea came about because police were often seriously injured or killed at routine traffic stops or during high-speed chases when pursuing stolen vehicles. In testing, Reagan's prototype solution proved to be successful 100% of the time and was called "the promise of the future" by then Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.
Bill Reagan insured LoJack's success first and foremost by choosing to use Radio Frequency (RF) technology—which to this day remains highly covert and highly effective for stolen vehicle recovery. Since day one, RF has enabled a vehicle to be tracked even if it is hidden in downtown urban areas, dense foliage, concrete structures like underground garages or steel containers.
Reagan created another critical differentiator for the LoJack System by working closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety to integrate the LoJack System into the processes and procedures of existing law enforcement systems. Because of Reagan's work, LoJack, along with the Massachusetts State Police, was granted authority as a designee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to use an FCC frequency for the purpose of tracking stolen vehicles.
According to Lou Koven, former Los Angeles Police Department officer and member of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI), "We didn't take LoJack seriously at first. How could a system do what LoJack claimed? But it earned our respect, because it worked time and time again." He added, "It's amazing how auto theft changed as LoJack gained acceptance."
Back in 1986, auto theft was mainly a theft of opportunity perpetrated by teenagers out for a joy ride. All it required was a screwdriver and 30 seconds to expose ignition wires and start a car. It was easy. More hardened criminals used the same tools to steal a car, often to commit other serious crimes. For them, theft was easy and it was difficult to get caught. However, as LoJack gained acceptance, it changed how thieves operated. By the early 1990s, stolen vehicles had to "cool off" for 24 to 36 hours—stay in a parking space to make certain it was not being tracked by police using their LoJack Police Tracking Computers.
As vehicle technology became more sophisticated, so did thieves. The transponder key was a turning point in vehicle theft. In the early '90s—in the desperate need to get the key—a rash of carjacking took place, followed closely by home invasion/car thefts. Vehicle theft was rapidly becoming a lucrative business and organized crime rings began to flourish. These rings often operated chop shops, where criminals stripped a car for its parts and often sold them for 3 or 4 times the value of the vehicle.
Nowadays, organized theft rings are often global in scale, targeting specific vehicles in the U.S. and shipping them overseas to places like Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe. Here in the US, thieves remain on the quest for keys, often posing as valets and taking the keys handed to them. They also are prone to cloning Vehicle Identification Numbers.
Bill Reagan's dream to help keep law enforcement officers safe and recover stolen vehicles has led to a system that today operates in 28 states and the District of Columbia, and in more than 30 countries throughout North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. More than 1,900 law enforcement agencies across the country use LoJack Police Tracking Computers as their first line of defense in the fight against auto theft. Many experts agree that the System—and its Radio Frequency technology—remains the most effective one yet to help recover stolen vehicles, crack international theft rings and apprehend criminals behind these acts.
Stated Koven, "New, old, used cars, construction equipment and even classic cars are now recovered because of LoJack. It's true that we would never have recovered the number of cars we have if it weren't for the LoJack System."
There also are LoJack Systems for motorcycles. In addition, LoJack has an ownership stake in LoJack Supply Chain Integrity, which provides an integrated solution for supply chain protection, and an agreement with Absolute Software to license LoJack's name for their LoJack for Laptops product. Most recently, the company has introduced the SafetyNet by LoJack service, which provides an added layer of protection for those with cognitive conditions such as autism and Alzheimer's who are prone to wandering. The service also provides public safety agencies with the tools and training to more effectively find and rescue those individuals if they wander and go missing—making LoJack truly "all things recovery."
In an effort to both acknowledge and thank the audiences that have been key to its success, LoJack is recognizing its law enforcement partners, providing new programs for its dealer network, adding exciting promotions for customers and is acknowledging employees in a number of ways for their support over the past quarter century.
Customers are eligible to enter into LoJack's 25th anniversary free ride event, in which one winner will receive $25,000 and 25 other entrants will receive free LoJack units. For more information and to register, please visit http://www.lojack25thanniversary.com.