The New Volvo S60 Offers Crime-Deterring Side Windows
9 August 2000EPG Helps Prevent Smash-and-Grab Thefts & Auto Thefts
DETROIT - A thief approaches a parked car and spots a laptop computer on the front seat. He quickly breaks the side window, grabs the laptop and runs off. It only takes a few seconds. This type of "smash and grab" theft could victimize owners of many types of vehicles, but not owners of the new Volvo S60 sedan, according to Solutia Inc. Volvo is offering side windows made from Enhanced Protective Glass (EPG) as an option on all S60 models. Besides the S60, Volvo also offers EPG on its S80 and V70 models. EPG made with polyvinyl butyral (PVB) is a new category of laminated glass designed specifically for use in vehicle side and rear windows. It deters smash-and-grab theft by increasing the time it takes to break through a vehicle window. While the glass will crack after repeated impacts, it remains adhered to the tough plastic interlayer, providing an effective barrier against smash-and-grab thieves. In fact, tests have shown that it may take up to two minutes to break into an EPG-equipped vehicle. According to police experts, that two minutes is more than enough time to convince a thief to try elsewhere. "If a thief has to stand there and pound on the window, he won't spend the time," says Detective John Nelson of the Seattle Police Department's Auto Theft Unit. Luther Krueger, a crime prevention specialist with the Minneapolis Police Department, agrees. "The more a thief has to work, the less likely he is to break in," Krueger says. "A thief takes a quick five to ten seconds to access the inside of a car, then he walks away." The repeated blows necessary to gain access to an EPG-equipped vehicle also create a lot of noise -- and noise draws the kind of attention a smash-and-grab thief wants to avoid, according to Officer Colleen Champagne of the New York Crime Prevention Department. "Breaking glass is noisy -- and if you have EPG on a car it would make even more noise," Champagne notes. "That would deter the thief." Top Cities for "Smash-and-Grab" Theft (1998) City Thefts From Autos 1. New York, NY 45,645 2. Los Angeles, CA 31,298 3. Houston, TX 17,765 4. Philadelphia, PA 15,380 5. Austin, TX 15,262 6. Detroit, MI 15,059 7. Baltimore, MD 13,596 8. Dallas, TX 12,884 9. San Diego, CA 12,147 10. San Francisco, CA 11,548 EPG Provides Protection Against Vehicle Thefts Thefts from vehicles are only part of the problem, however. Police experts report that gaining access by smashing a side window is also a common modus operandi for thieves intending to steal the vehicle itself. "An estimated three-fourths of car thefts that occur in the area involve window breakage," says Sergeant Steve Young of the Kansas City Police Department. Police spokespeople in Atlanta, Miami and Minneapolis offer similar estimates. In fact, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more than 1,240,000 vehicle thefts, at a total cost of approximately $7.5 billion, were reported in the U.S. in 1998 (the most recent year for which data is available). According to police experts, intrusion-resistant EPG would be effective not only in preventing smash-and-grab thefts, but in preventing vehicle thefts as well. "I think it would be a deterrent, not being able to break the glass," says Detective Robert Rock of the Denver Police Department. "Especially in the summer, when a thief will break the window, then act like the window is just rolled down." With EPG, "it would be a lot harder to smash through the window," says Detective Steve Howe of the Los Angeles Police Department. "EPG offers an additional level of protection." About Solutia Solutia Inc., the world's leading supplier of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) with its Saflex brand, has played a key role in developing the laminated glass market. Enhanced Protective Glass (EPG) is made by bonding under heat and pressure a tough PVB interlayer between two panes of glass. Saflex PVB has been used in automotive windshields for more than 60 years and, more recently, in the glass used in side and rear windows and sunroofs on the following models: Audi A6 and A8, BMW 7 Series, Chrysler Cirrus (Mexico), Mercedes CL 500 and S Class, Peugeot 206 and 607, and Volvo S80, S60 and V70.