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How many GPSs have been stolen?

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

How many GPSs have been stolen?

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
January 16, 2010


On January 7th The Woodstock Advocate reported that there had been numerous GPS thefts from vehicles in Woodstock, and an inquiry was sent to the Woodstock Police Department.

The P.D. replied with a press release and said there had been a “rash” of such thefts. Well, OK, what’s a “rash”?

Rather than peppering them with a FOIA request to examine their reporting statistics, I thought I would first ask readers what they wanted to know about these thefts. Many thanks for the 22 readers who took time to respond.

The question was “What would you like to know about recent vehicle burglaries in Woodstock?” This survey, unlike previous ones, allowed multiple replies. Here they are:

Which (police) beat? 16
City parking lot or street? 16
Windows broken: 14
Daytime or night-time? 13
Theft of GPS? 12
Vehicle locked? 11

The survey was clearly unscientific, but residents obviously want more information. Residents want to be informed. Saying there is a “rash” of thefts from vehicles is not good enough.

Maybe a good first question is: How many thefts from vehicles have there been in the past 60 days?

Follow-up questions might include 1) how many per week? 2) which day of the week is worst? 3) is there a pin map with locations? Publish it. 4) Time of day? 5) Vehicle locked? 6) Window(s) broken to allow entry? Number and value of electronics stolen? \



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