Thanks to its small form factor, the AirTag can be hidden virtually anywhere in the car, making it difficult (though not impossible) for a thief to locate and disable the device.
General Motors offers an alternative that's harder to disable and comes pre-loaded with the vehicle for OnStar subscribers. And the way it works not only helps law enforcement locate the vehicle but also recover it and eventually arrest the thief.
Called Stolen Vehicle Assistance, the service isn't supposed to provide the car owner with location information but to allow a team of advisors to work with the police on finding the vehicle and recovering it.
If not, it's the right moment to let the experts step in. The first step is contacting the police and letting them know someone drove away in your car. You should tell them the vehicle is equipped with the OnStar Stolen Vehicle Assistance so they know they can obtain valuable location information to locate it. The owner must contact the OnStar call center to report the theft, at this point, an advisor begins the recovery process by remotely connecting to the vehicle.
Thanks to the GPS system installed on the car, it's a matter of seconds to determine where it's located. The OnStar staff can obtain the vehicle's location and provide the police with real-time data so they can go to the address and attempt a recovery and maybe an arrest.
On the other hand, if the vehicle is reported as moving, the OnStar staff feeds the police officers with real-time location data so they can get closer to it. To make sure the patrol cars follow the right vehicle, the OnStar advisor can remotely activate various functions, such as the hazard lights. These features are enabled without the thief behind the wheel knowing, so the police can spot the vehicle and get closer to continue the pursuit.
There's no need for Hollywood-style pursuits or similar things, as the remote access to the vehicle allows the OnStar teams to bring the car to a halt by pressing a single button.
The OnStar Stolen Vehicle Assistance packs a feature to gradually slow down the vehicle, so even if the thief presses the throttle, the car no longer accelerates. The car will eventually stop, giving the police the opportunity to block it and arrest the thief.
The whole system is based on the assumption that the police can promptly respond to your report, so theoretically, the moment you notice the vehicle is missing and alert law enforcement, it should be a matter of minutes until a police officer jumps behind the wheel and starts looking for your vehicle based on the information provided by the OnStar call center. Things don't always work so smoothly, as the police typically need more time to begin the search for your vehicle, but if you're lucky, a patrol officer spots the stolen vehicle and recovers it before it's too late.
Meanwhile, equipping your car with additional safety equipment certainly helps. The Kia Boyz madness taught us that steering wheel locks can still keep thieves away, even if they break into your car, as removing such hardware takes time, and nobody wants to spend several minutes in a vehicle they just broke into.