|Auto Theft and Burglary Prevention|
ofc Mark Pona
|Auto-theft is very common and frequent! On F.A.U.s Boca Raton campus alone 43 vehicles were stolen in 1998 and 1999. Human nature usually dictates that we never react to a threat until we become a victim.
The goal of this information is to educate everyone about how much at risk we are when we leave our cars unattended. Included is simple and basic information which, when implemented, greatly reduces the chance of your car getting stolen.
Though stealing a car may be easy, it is just as easy to prevent your car from being stolen. The responsibility falls upon you.
After learning the following information, check with your insurance company regarding discounts that may apply to your policy for the use of a security device (s).
|"Kill the Car" - Before the Theives Take It!|
|First and foremost, the primary goal of protecting your vehicle is preventing unauthorized persons from starting the engine. This may be achieved by various methods.|
|Car security systems (also known as "car alarms") are a highly effective way to protect your vehicle. We, unfortunately, have been conditioned to ignore the sounds of car alarms because of the numerous false alarms we hear each day caused by a poor installation or a low quality alarm. This has given the car alarm an undeserved bad reputation since an inexpensive, yet good quality, car security system can be a very dependable and convenient way to protect your car.
The audible part of the alarm, or "siren", is but one attention getting feature of a security system, but most people do not
Realize the "engine kill" or "ignition relay", which are included with all good quality security systems will prevent the engine from starting and/or running if the alarm is activated.
A properly wired ignition relay (termed: "normally open") will prevent the car from starting even if the alarm system is ripped out of the car, which has been known to happen often.
In addition, flashing lights, loud sirens, optional motion sensors and other features, both included and optional, help to attract attention to your vehicle if an attempt to burglarize or steal your car is made. Modern security systems allow the siren to be personalized so you can audibly tell if its your cars alarm sounding in the distance.
Modern alarms, of good quality, have built-in protection from "code-grabbers". A code-grabber is a receiver / transmitter which thieves use to learn, copy and then re-transmit your alarms frequency in order to disarm and, in some cases, unlock the doors. Auto theft has become quite sophisticated, but there is protection from it!
|The most effective device, which happens to be the least expensive device, is the manually operated "kill" switch. A good quality, heavy duty switch can be purchased for under $8 and installed for little to no cost by most anyone with knowledge of simple automobile electronics.
Some suggested areas that a kill-switch can control would include the starter relay (to prevent cranking of the engine), ignition system, computer, and fuel pump (to prevent the engine from starting or running). The switch, once installed in a hidden location, is simply
Switched "off" and if an unauthorized driver tries to start or drive the car, the car would simply not run.
One drawback to only using a kill-switch is that it isnt a visual deterrent, so an attempt to gain entry or steal the
Vehicle may still occur and damage is an almost certainty. However, if the switches are successfully hidden, the end result will be that your car will still be in place after the incident. Consider this the "lesser of two evils".
|Steering Column Guards|
|One vital area to protect on any car is the steering column and more specifically around the ignition key area. It has become a "weak" area and thieves are taking advantage of it.
Many devices are available, both removable and permanently mounted, which cover / shield the vital areas of the steering column from thieves. On many cars, this is more of a deterrent than a car alarm due to the extreme ease in stealing particular cars.
|Steering Column Guards|
|Devices or locks which are commonly known as clubs are a simple and effective method to protect your vehicle from some thieves. However, these devices are easily defeated. Rather than destroy the device, the thief typically cuts the steering wheel which, in turn, allows easy removal of the device.
To combat this, manufacturers have created a secondary device, similar in appearance to a garbage can lid, which mount over the steering wheel and is the locked on by the club-type device. This combined method of protection greatly reduces the thiefs ability to cut the steering wheel and remove either device.
|Anti-carjacking systems operate in a manor similar to a car security system, however they are designed to activate as the car is being driven. Generally speaking, if an attempt is made to remove the car from the drivers possession, or remove the driver from the cars possession, the anti-carjacking system
Arms and then kills the engine within a pre-set amount of time unless a secret procedure is performed. This system allows enough time for the driver to turn over the car to the "bad guy" and run away. Within seconds the car will stop running and force the thief to abandon the car where it sits.
|Vin etching is a method to permanently mark the glass panels (windows) with the vehicles identification number. This aids to prevent the car from being stolen for the sole purpose of re-using the windows to repair another vehicle. Depending on the vehicle, it may be cheaper for a dishonest body shop to hire a thief to steal the glass piece rather than purchase it legally.|
|Smart Advice to Prevent Theft and Burglary|