Driving Tips: How To Prevent Auto Theft

Some ideas to help prevent auto theft no matter how attractive your car looks.

Every 27 seconds another vehicle is stolen across the United States. Unfortunately there is no way to totally eliminate auto theft, nor is there any surefire way to prevent it. But there are measures you can take to help diminish your chances of being victimized. In addition to traditional alarms, technological advances have given auto owners a few more devices to help fight this ever present problem. The average return time varies, but it is possible to have your car back in as little as ten minutes using the new technology available.

The most obvious preventative measures are locking doors and never storing your keys in your vehicle. As easy as they seem even these steps can be the difference between a thief choosing someone else's more accessible car rather than yours.

THEFT PREVENTION DEVICES

When car alarms were the newest safety device on the market, people actually paid attention to vehicles when the alarm was tripped. Now, because panic buttons and alarm systems have become standard equipment on newer cars, people just don't pay attention to them. To help combat the desensitizing we've all experienced in respect to car alarms, systems like Lo-Jack were invented and now installed in cars to help track stolen vehicles. Let's take a look at what's available as standard equipment, additional options and as aftermarket installations on older cars.



Lo-Jack - Cars equipped with the Lo-Jack system emit an inaudible frequency to police and law enforcement agencies enabling them to easily locate stolen vehicles. With a 90% success rate this is by far one of the most reliable way to ensure that if your car is stolen, you'll get it back. Lo-Jack systems are never placed in any one place on vehicles. And with 20 different places for attachment, its nearly impossible for a thief to find if you've had one installed. When reported stolen, the police Lo-Jack tracking computer sends a signal to the unit in place on your car thus allowing the location of the car to be revealed.

Engine Cut off switch - When first developed in late nineties, some cars came with a computer chip that had to be inserted before the car would start. With improvement over the years there are varying types of kill switches. Some allow the car to start but only drive a mile or two before the engine shuts off. While your car may still be stolen, the vehicle owner is removed from immediate danger of a confrontation with the perpetrator. This is a great addition to a traditional alarm because while alarm wires can be cut, its much harder and attracts more attention to attempt to disable a kill switch.

Steering Wheel Locks - These are somewhat reliable, and more cost effective on tight budgets. The Club came out years ago and was the first steering wheel lock readily available. Now there a few others, but they all work generally the same. Almost the same premise as a bicycle lock, it attaches to the steering wheel and prevents the wheel from being turned. While not as reliable as either one of the two previous devices, these can be a great preventative measure, because even for experienced thieves, it takes a little time to cut one off the wheel. Other thieves just won't mess with them and move on to another car that doesn't have one.

PREVENTING CAR THEFT WITHOUT DIGGING IN YOUR WALLET

There are certain situations that create the best possible scenario conducive to car theft. Taking steps to insure you're not falling into that category is possible by instituting your own regularly followed security and safety measures.

Be aware of your surroundings. When people get into a rush, have too many things going on at once or just plain aren't paying attention for some reason or another they get careless. Carelessness is a thief's best friend. If you're fumbling around with too many things, talking on the phone or paying attention to something else a thief can use this as the perfect opportunity to pounce. In that, whenever you park in any lot no matter how comfortable you are with the location, be aware of your surroundings. Note any strange things you see and before you exit your vehicle have all your belongings together. Especially if you're alone, man or woman, it's easier for a thief to car-jack you than to physically break into your car. If you're standing there, keys in hand fumbling with items inside your car, what more invitation do they need?

Know what cars are hot commodities for thieves in your area. Visit your local law enforcement office either in person or via the web and get a listing of the top ten most stolen vehicles for your town. If your car is on the list, act accordingly. It may be wise to have an alarm or other device installed if you think you're a particularly high risk for theft.

In hotter climates it's common to leave windows cracked so the vehicle doesn't heat up as much as it would with all the windows closed. In truth, it doesn't really do anything more than send an invitation to potential thieves that it may be easier to access your car. Keep the windows closed.

Don't give thieves a reason to steal your car. Easier said than done in some cases with cars that have been beefed up, but there are ways to conceal your vehicle enhancements. Window tinting, removable faceplates on stereos and special containers placed in vehicles to hide personal belongings are helpful. People tend to associate this rule with Christmas time and mall parking lots. We've all heard not to leave packages in your car in plain view. But it applies everyday of the year; all three hundred and sixty five of them. Planners, purses, cell phones, special stereo equipment, and laptops are great parting gifts for the thief who decides your car is packed with goodies they just can't resist.

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