AUTOMOTIVE CRIME

Automotive Forensics & Investigation of Vehicles

Vehicle crime is a highly organized criminal activity affecting all regions of the whole world and with clear links to organized crime and terrorism. Vehicles are not only stolen for their entire functionality, but are also trafficked to finance other crimes. They can also be used as bomb carriers or in the perpetration of other crimes. According to Interpol at the end of December 2015 7.4 million records of reported stolen motor vehicles were registered globally. Digitpol has a keen focus on supporting SMVI by deploying skills, tools and operational support to both Public and Private sector.

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Data Exchange
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GPS Forensics
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SMVI
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Border Regulation

Recovery of Deleted Digital VIN and KM data

On behalf of LEA and Insurance firms, our SMV team have capabilites to recover deleted forensic from coded parts. We can recover deleted KM, VIN and Serial numbers from flash and memory chips using a method known as chip-off forensics.

 

  • Chip-off forensics
  • Recovered Identities
  • Recovered Deleted Data
Automotive Forensics
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Automotive GPS Forensics

We conduct forensic analysis on automotive GPS systems for Law Enforcement Agencies and testing for OEM’s. We specialise in the examination of built-in OEM GPS Satellite Navigation systems, known as Infotainment or Telematics systems. Our forensic team has been conducting research since 2009 on the investigative techniques to aquire forensics data from embedded vehicle GPS systems. Together with system manufactueres we have built a solid and robust method to recover forensic data.

GPS Forensics

Stolen Vehicle Investigation

Vehicle crime is a highly organized criminal activity affecting all regions of the whole world and with clear links to organized crime and terrorism. Vehicles are not only stolen for their entire functionality, but are also trafficked to finance other crimes. They can also be used as bomb carriers or in the perpetration of other crimes. At the end of December 2015 7.4 million records of reported stolen motor vehicles were registered globally. Digitpol has a keen focus on supporting SMVI by deploying skills and tools.

SMVIU
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Counterfeit Automotive Parts

Digitpol is an International leader in the fight against the manufacturing, sale and distribution of Counterfeit Automotive Parts & Software. We investigate illegal Diagnostic Tools, counterfeit Repair Manuals & Software and Illegal tools used to manipulate immoblizers.

We are researching the growing problem of counterfeit Airbags, modules & steering wheels, brake parts and ABS sensors

Read More

Vehicle Investigation

Digitpol SMV are experts in the identification of stolen vehicles, manipulated vehicles, standalone vehicle parts. We are highly specialised in the global repatriation of recovered stolen vehicles.

Vehicle Crime

Stolen Vehicle Statistics - USA

USA: The FBI includes the theft or attempted theft of automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles and other vehicles in its definition of motor vehicle theft. About $5.9 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2016. The average dollar loss per theft was $7,680. Motor vehicles were stolen at a rate of 236.9 per 100,000 people in 2016, up 7.6 percent from 2015 but down 35.1 percent from 2007.Read More »

Stolen Vehicle Statistics - Europe

An indication of the scale of the economic damage involved, for example, can be found in an analysis by an insurance company in the United Kingdom: in 2011, 65,000 vehicles were stolen and never recovered in the United Kingdom. Using the data of 3,000 insurance claims, the average value of a stolen car was 4,600 British pounds (€ 5,474), totaling € 355 million annually.

Read More »

Economic Aspect of Stolen Vehicles

The German Bundeskriminalamt uses the 2011 figures provided by the German association of insurance companies for the total economic damage on stolen motor vehicles: almost 260 million Euros. This amount represents only stolen vehicles (and not, for example, vehicles which are lost through fraud). The total economic damage is an increase of almost 1% compared to 2010 and a 19% increase compared to the average total amount of the previous 5 years. Moreover, the average individual claim was higher. This could be caused by an increased market value of the average car stolen or an indication of a trend in which motor vehicles with a higher value are targeted.

Border management issues related to SMV

The German Bundeskriminalamt also identifies routes towards eastern Europe and Central Asia through Poland and Lithuania (bordering on Russia). Two more routes leading to Middle Eastern countries were identified: one leading through Spain to Northern Africa and further east, and one leading through Turkey further south east. Another identified route leads from Germany to The Netherlands in the west, and through Rotterdam sea port to African countries.

Terrorism and stolen vehicles

A 2005 American newspaper article describes the broad investigation of United States-based theft rings, after discovering that some of the vehicles used in deadly car bombings in Iraq, were stolen in the United States. No evidence was found that the vehicles were stolen specifically for the car bombings. However, evidence was uncovered that the cars were smuggled from the United States as part of a widespread criminal network that includes terrorists and insurgents.

Terrorism and stolen vehicles

During the morning rush hour, on 11 March 2004, 10 explosions occurred on 4 commuter trains in Madrid, Spain. The Spanish National Police established that a total of 13 improvised explosive devices had been placed on the trains. 191 people of 17 different nationalities were killed, approximately 2000 were wounded. In the ensuing police investigation it was established that the perpetrators in preparation of the attack had made use of three stolen vehicles.

Trafficking in human beings and stolen vehicles

The fact that more cooperation between organized crime groups has been observed in combination with their transnational aspect and polycriminality28 is extended to the connection between trafficking in human beings and stolen vehicles. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in its 2011 report on Money Laundering Risks Arising From Trafficking in Human Beings and Smuggling of Migrants found links between the crime area of trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants and other forms of organized crime, stolen vehicles included.  Information supplied by Interpol – @Interpol

Trafficking of illicit goods and stolen vehicles

Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil initiated combined activities to combat the widespread “coke-for- cars” phenomenon in their countries. 32

Legislation per country

Legislation with regard to vehicles varies greatly in different countries. Mandatory insurance for vehicles could be in place in one country for decades and not be common practice yet in another, a mandatory technical check of an imported vehicle before registration in a national database is not always standard practice. @interpol

International differences in legislation

In addition to international differences in legislation, a change in legislation can either present new opportunities for criminal activity or throw up barriers with regard to Motor Vehicle Crime. Some examples: (@Interpol)

_____________________________________________________________________

In 2011, the Bolivian government started an amnesty process to legalize undocumented vehicles. Subsequently, the Bolivian Customs Office received over 120.000 requests from the public. An unknown number of stolen vehicles which originated in Bolivia’s neighboring countries were discovered during the process.

_____________________________________________________________________

Sudan, a country already under a United States trade embargo, recently restricted its imports of spare parts for basic machinery and second hand vehicles. The result is not only a 30% price increase on present stock but the situation allows opportunity for black market participants and (illicit) copies.

Common Legislation Issues

Interpol SMV Team by research with their members found many gaps identified in the administrative workflow resulting legislation issues subject to Stolen Motor Vehicles. Some examples are:

  • (Theft of) vehicle and auto parts are not classified as specific offence; Inadequate procedural and penal policy;
  • Vehicle can be taken out of the customs zone without registration;
  • Commercial vehicles (vans and heavy machinery) are not subject to inspection; No obligation for technical check before registration;
  • Lack of policy on shipment clearance in ports;
  • Vehicle theft has two qualifications in the Penal Code (theft or joyriding);
  • Possibility to simultaneously register vehicle identification number in multiple (federal) states.

Solutions

Change in Legislation may be necessary in some countries to fight vehicle better however it may be discussed from a joint approach between the Law Enforcement and Insurance sector.

Insurance companies could benefit in the fight against Motor Vehicle Crime. One such joint initiative is the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council, a co-operation between all Australian governments and the insurance industry13 which supplies comprehensive statistics. Developing more of these co-operations is recommended.

Vehicle Manufacturers & OEM

Car manufacturers naturally need to adhere to rules and regulations with regard to safety but also with regard to fighting Motor Vehicle Crime. Mandatory marking with a vehicle identification number during the production of, for example, an engine, a transmission and parts of the chassis is common.

Many other tools against vehicle theft are technically available, such as car alarms, tracking and disabling devices or the use of microscopic identifiers (so-called “data dots”) which are sprayed on cars and car parts. The basic economic principle of cost/benefit of applying one or more of these methods during the manufacturing process, dictates whether car manufacturers use them. @Interpol

Insurance

Insurance companies play a large role in the complex situation with regard to stolen motor vehicles, but only in those countries where vehicles can be insured against theft. Globally, not all countries have legislation in place where a vehicle, used in public, needs to be insured either to protect the owner of the vehicle or the party experiencing damage by the use of the vehicle. @Interpol

Stakeholders

To fight vehicle crime a number of partners are required to cooperate closely and share data to enable the fight against transnational vehicle crime, stakeholders such as Police, Insurance, Car Manufactures, Registration Authorities, Legislators, Revenue, Customs and Vehicle Crime experts.

Challenges

One example is: A number of years ago, a Ukrainian law was passed which permits confiscated vehicles to become government property. The state may decide to sell or use the vehicles. Thus, a vehicle stolen in Germany, and discovered as stolen at the Ukrainian border may be released by court order to be used as government property.11 Mexico has similar legislation in place.
+ Stolen Vehicles

Stolen Vehicle Statistics - USA

USA: The FBI includes the theft or attempted theft of automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles and other vehicles in its definition of motor vehicle theft. About $5.9 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2016. The average dollar loss per theft was $7,680. Motor vehicles were stolen at a rate of 236.9 per 100,000 people in 2016, up 7.6 percent from 2015 but down 35.1 percent from 2007.Read More »

Stolen Vehicle Statistics - Europe

An indication of the scale of the economic damage involved, for example, can be found in an analysis by an insurance company in the United Kingdom: in 2011, 65,000 vehicles were stolen and never recovered in the United Kingdom. Using the data of 3,000 insurance claims, the average value of a stolen car was 4,600 British pounds (€ 5,474), totaling € 355 million annually.

Read More »

Economic Aspect of Stolen Vehicles

The German Bundeskriminalamt uses the 2011 figures provided by the German association of insurance companies for the total economic damage on stolen motor vehicles: almost 260 million Euros. This amount represents only stolen vehicles (and not, for example, vehicles which are lost through fraud). The total economic damage is an increase of almost 1% compared to 2010 and a 19% increase compared to the average total amount of the previous 5 years. Moreover, the average individual claim was higher. This could be caused by an increased market value of the average car stolen or an indication of a trend in which motor vehicles with a higher value are targeted.

Border management issues related to SMV

The German Bundeskriminalamt also identifies routes towards eastern Europe and Central Asia through Poland and Lithuania (bordering on Russia). Two more routes leading to Middle Eastern countries were identified: one leading through Spain to Northern Africa and further east, and one leading through Turkey further south east. Another identified route leads from Germany to The Netherlands in the west, and through Rotterdam sea port to African countries.

+ Trafficking & Terrorism

Terrorism and stolen vehicles

A 2005 American newspaper article describes the broad investigation of United States-based theft rings, after discovering that some of the vehicles used in deadly car bombings in Iraq, were stolen in the United States. No evidence was found that the vehicles were stolen specifically for the car bombings. However, evidence was uncovered that the cars were smuggled from the United States as part of a widespread criminal network that includes terrorists and insurgents.

Terrorism and stolen vehicles

During the morning rush hour, on 11 March 2004, 10 explosions occurred on 4 commuter trains in Madrid, Spain. The Spanish National Police established that a total of 13 improvised explosive devices had been placed on the trains. 191 people of 17 different nationalities were killed, approximately 2000 were wounded. In the ensuing police investigation it was established that the perpetrators in preparation of the attack had made use of three stolen vehicles.

Trafficking in human beings and stolen vehicles

The fact that more cooperation between organized crime groups has been observed in combination with their transnational aspect and polycriminality28 is extended to the connection between trafficking in human beings and stolen vehicles. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in its 2011 report on Money Laundering Risks Arising From Trafficking in Human Beings and Smuggling of Migrants found links between the crime area of trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants and other forms of organized crime, stolen vehicles included.  Information supplied by Interpol – @Interpol

Trafficking of illicit goods and stolen vehicles

Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil initiated combined activities to combat the widespread “coke-for- cars” phenomenon in their countries. 32

+ Legislation

Legislation per country

Legislation with regard to vehicles varies greatly in different countries. Mandatory insurance for vehicles could be in place in one country for decades and not be common practice yet in another, a mandatory technical check of an imported vehicle before registration in a national database is not always standard practice. @interpol

International differences in legislation

In addition to international differences in legislation, a change in legislation can either present new opportunities for criminal activity or throw up barriers with regard to Motor Vehicle Crime. Some examples: (@Interpol)

_____________________________________________________________________

In 2011, the Bolivian government started an amnesty process to legalize undocumented vehicles. Subsequently, the Bolivian Customs Office received over 120.000 requests from the public. An unknown number of stolen vehicles which originated in Bolivia’s neighboring countries were discovered during the process.

_____________________________________________________________________

Sudan, a country already under a United States trade embargo, recently restricted its imports of spare parts for basic machinery and second hand vehicles. The result is not only a 30% price increase on present stock but the situation allows opportunity for black market participants and (illicit) copies.

Common Legislation Issues

Interpol SMV Team by research with their members found many gaps identified in the administrative workflow resulting legislation issues subject to Stolen Motor Vehicles. Some examples are:

  • (Theft of) vehicle and auto parts are not classified as specific offence; Inadequate procedural and penal policy;
  • Vehicle can be taken out of the customs zone without registration;
  • Commercial vehicles (vans and heavy machinery) are not subject to inspection; No obligation for technical check before registration;
  • Lack of policy on shipment clearance in ports;
  • Vehicle theft has two qualifications in the Penal Code (theft or joyriding);
  • Possibility to simultaneously register vehicle identification number in multiple (federal) states.

Solutions

Change in Legislation may be necessary in some countries to fight vehicle better however it may be discussed from a joint approach between the Law Enforcement and Insurance sector.

Insurance companies could benefit in the fight against Motor Vehicle Crime. One such joint initiative is the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council, a co-operation between all Australian governments and the insurance industry13 which supplies comprehensive statistics. Developing more of these co-operations is recommended.

+ Stakeholders of SMVI

Vehicle Manufacturers & OEM

Car manufacturers naturally need to adhere to rules and regulations with regard to safety but also with regard to fighting Motor Vehicle Crime. Mandatory marking with a vehicle identification number during the production of, for example, an engine, a transmission and parts of the chassis is common.

Many other tools against vehicle theft are technically available, such as car alarms, tracking and disabling devices or the use of microscopic identifiers (so-called “data dots”) which are sprayed on cars and car parts. The basic economic principle of cost/benefit of applying one or more of these methods during the manufacturing process, dictates whether car manufacturers use them. @Interpol

Insurance

Insurance companies play a large role in the complex situation with regard to stolen motor vehicles, but only in those countries where vehicles can be insured against theft. Globally, not all countries have legislation in place where a vehicle, used in public, needs to be insured either to protect the owner of the vehicle or the party experiencing damage by the use of the vehicle. @Interpol

Stakeholders

To fight vehicle crime a number of partners are required to cooperate closely and share data to enable the fight against transnational vehicle crime, stakeholders such as Police, Insurance, Car Manufactures, Registration Authorities, Legislators, Revenue, Customs and Vehicle Crime experts.

Challenges

One example is: A number of years ago, a Ukrainian law was passed which permits confiscated vehicles to become government property. The state may decide to sell or use the vehicles. Thus, a vehicle stolen in Germany, and discovered as stolen at the Ukrainian border may be released by court order to be used as government property.11 Mexico has similar legislation in place.
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FORENSICS
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WEEKLY SMV

Modus Operandi

What we see from operational level

The use of technology to bypass vehicle security is a growing problem, the use of tools to bypass keyless and connect security is a major threat to society. Stolen Vehicles is a risk to societies.

Looking for SMV services?

We are highly specialised in the global repatriation of recovered stolen vehicles.